MOST AMERICANS NEVER got any education about the labor movement's proper place in U.S. history or the important role that labor played in our nation's development. A new report on how die history of labor is treated in high school history textbooks provides an explanation for this oversight.
"American Labor and U.S. History Textbooks: How Labor's Story Is Distorted in High School History Textbooks" surveys four major textbooks that together account for most of the market in U.S. history textbooks.
The report, sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute, in cooperation with die American Labor Studies Center, notes that these textbooks often present labor history in a biased, negative way: for example, focusing on strikes and strike violence while giving little or no attention to the employer abuse and violence that were usually at the root of such actions. The textbooks' persistent focus on conflict iverrides any attention given to abor's central historical role in oving generations of Americans to the middle class.
While the report credits the textbooks with some accurate reporting, it notes that the textbooks ignore the vital role of union activism in advancing social protections and reforms such as the eight-hour workday, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, occupational safety and health, and the end of abusive child labor. …