Columnist’s views on teachers simplistic

Thomas Sowell’s right-wing diatribe (The Maui News, Jan. 11) about teachers was simplistic and intellectually unsound. Having once been a U.S. history teacher and written a thesis on aspects of French history between WWI and WWII, I found his column polemical and not well-founded in fact.

I have read Howard Zinn’s book that he claims poisons students’ minds. While I disagree with several conclusions that Zinn makes, his book presents some significant alternate aspects of American history that are often minimized or ignored in standard textbooks.

Sowell’s nemesis John Dewey was a progressive who believed that education should not be indoctrination but a preparation of students to think critically, even about our history. Sowell seems to suggest that any critical examination of it is treasonous.

His reference to French history is off base. The defeat of combined English and French forces in France by the German Blitzkrieg in 1940 is a subject more complex than his attribution to French school books, or that can be explored in this letter. (Anyone who has visited the universal ossuary at Verdun recognizes the shared horror and death for the common soldier on both sides.) The dynamics of French history between the wars reflect many competing influences and forces, not Sowell’s shallow analysis.

Sowell would have American students taught a chauvinist, unilateralist and militaristic ideology. These were the hallmarks of the fascists’ and Axis powers’ mentality in their day. Is that the type of education we want our teachers to provide?

Robert Faux