James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.

Q. Does Lies Attack Teachers?

Sadly, a few teachers rejected Lies My Teacher Told Me without reading it. The title made them think that I am a teacher basher. Yet the book never bashes teachers.

I have great respect for teachers, from kindergarten through high school. Many work in crowded classrooms for eight hours a day—and on top of that, they have to read and comment on homework, prepare and grade exams, and develop lesson plans. When are they supposed to research what they teach in Ameri­can history? During their unpaid weekends and summers?

Lies did reach and move many teachers. This is important, because one teacher can reach a hundred students, and another hundred the next year. Many history teachers are serious about their subject. They study it themselves, they encourage students to research subjects that interest them, and they promote discus­sion in the classroom. But too many teachers simply rely on the textbooks (which they don’t choose). As I discovered, textbooks have been doing a pretty bad job. If teachers have better tools, and if they go beyond textbooks, they will be better teachers.