Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Teaching of Immigration in American schools


Waterford high school

By looking at the American studies curriculum on the Waterford high school website, I eventually found a section on immigration. Although immigration is mentioned, it seems to be a very small part of their history curriculum. Despite this, by looking at the essential questions listed that they expect their students to know after study, it seems to me that they just look at how immigrants were viewed by Americans at the start of the 19th century. An example of this is that it says in the school’s curriculum that they have to “compare the historical attitudes towards old and new immigrants.” Although this would involve looking into the discrimination the immigrants to America suffered, which would give the students an idea of how hard it was to be a successful American immigrant at that time, it leaves out other critical points such as how hard the lives of immigrants were in America just to survive day to day as a result of things such as poverty

In conclusion, it was hard to find a school which devoted a large part of their curriculum to immigration, as shown in the case of Waterford high school. The fact that they only seem to spend a small amount of time on immigration means that a lot of the main points concerning it are left uncovered, and although Waterford High school focus on how immigrants were viewed by Americans, it leaves out the worst details such as the poor day to day lives most immigrants had. This leads me to believe that the curriculum is heavily biased as topics which show America in a good light such as the world wars are covered deeply, yet topics which show America in a negative light, such as the treatment of American immigrants are either totally ignored or only looked at for a small period of time.

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