I See New York, Everywhere
I’m writing this in Paris, having just been in Amsterdam, and two years ago I was in London. The most striking thing about the street scene in all of those cities is how much they resemble what we New Yorkers are so proud of: everyone is on our streets. Well, here’s news for New Yorkers, and Americans in general, that globalization, that mixture of peoples from Asia, Africa, South America, with white Europeans that is the very symbol of modern New York, is exactly what you see in the great cities of Europe. And that relates directly to nonfiction and our kids.
The world is mixed together, everywhere, so that must be the approach we take to teaching not just elementary school classes about peoples and cultures, but Social Studies. I learned in Holland, that the way they teach Dutch history is that at each moment as it intersects with the history of Spain, or Asia, or England, they then learn that linked history. That simply must be the approach we take — it is the fact of the world our children are entering — and, in fact, was also true in the past. Trying to teach Social Studies as the history of just America is blind to the past, to the present, and distorts our kids future. It simply makes no sense.