Tonight, I was looking for some background noise while I completed some data entry. I stumbled on some old Schoolhouse Rock videos on Youtube, and went through the ones I was familiar with. However, I also came across other videos that I wasn’t familiar with. Primarily, “Elbow Room (Westward Expansion).”
While I love Schoolhouse Rock as much as the next person, the more of their historical videos I watched, the more disturbed I was. Schoolhouse Rock presents a very sanitized, biased view of history that ignores complications. When Revolutionary War soldiers were freezing, they “simply wrapped their feet”. Moving into the West was also “simple”, and apparently didn’t involve conflict with the people who were already living there.
This isn’t necessarily a diatribe against Schoolhouse Rock, but it is a warning to parents that you need to discuss the complexities of history with your children instead of whitewashing it. After all, a one-dimensional view of historical events doesn’t create critical thinkers.
What are your thoughts about videos like Schoolhouse Rock? Do they have educational value, or are they potentially harmful entertainment?