University of Dayton historian criticizes textbooks for minimizing Reagan

Historians in the News

While the Texas textbook battle continues to simmer – what’s in, what’s out – parents may be inspired to start digging into their own children’s books to see what’s inside. Experts say that's a great idea. Gilbert T. Sewall, Director of the American Textbook Council, says, “The facts are often used to create an interpretation or reality that simply is at the very least controversial and may be dead wrong.”

As for controversy, Professor Larry Schweikart of the University of Dayton, sees plenty in the textbooks he reviews. When vetting a history book, Schweikart first turns to any section discussing President Ronald Reagan. He says what you find there will tell you everything you need to know about whether or not a book is slanted. Schweikart believes that’s how many errors wind up in school textbooks: bias. “The reason why textbooks get to where they are is because this is the world view of (a) the people who write the text books (b) people who edit the text books and (c) people who publish them.” According to Schweikart, “They all tend to come from New York, Boston, Washington and Philadelphia,” giving them a “drastically” different viewpoint from the rest of America. Schweikart says the majority of books he’s examined credit Mikhail Gorbachev with ending the Cold War, and not President Reagan. Calling the characterization “a joke” the history professor ads, “I lived through the Reagan years, I remember.”...
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Paul Siff - 3/17/2010

Does Prof. Schweikart also remember the huge deficits and tripling of the national debt under Reagan, as well as the S&L debacle, Iran-Contra, the designation of ketchup as a school-lunch vegetableand numerous other follies?