Know Your City

February 10, 2008
By
Know Your City

Desiring to catch a glimpse of New York City's vibrant night life, a group of sixteen year old girls jump on a Manhattan-bound Q train just past midnight. While the historic New York City is encircling them, their knowledge of hometown New York goes only as far as to know what stop to get off at. Its amazing to think that even the train station that desperately aches for a renovation is part of New York's complex and colorful history. Its quite a shame that one of the country's biggest public education systems has not adequately taught its students the history of their own place of residency.

In order to truly make its name as one of the largest and best school systems of the nation, New York City schools should mandate their graduates come away knowing the history and fundamentals of modern day New York City. This could be done by mandating students to take a class called Urban History/New York City History as part of their graduation credit requirements. A class of this sort is usually offered in very limited quantities, generally only to students who are part of a historic enrichment program such as Gilder Lehrman. Some schools don't even offer this class in small quantities. Universities loved to see well-rounded individuals in their classes, but what can expected of the incoming students if they have not received proper fundamentals?

It should be a necessity and not a privilege for students to come away from the school system knowing about the city they reside in. They should be capable of sharing some knowledge about the history of their hometown. Thus, it should be mandated for urban history to be part of school graduation requirements. Students shouldn't desperately ache to meet the city they were raised in. Instead, they leave feeling motivated to embrace the city with knowledge.





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