Kids study the dark side of Columbus

Explorer Christopher Columbus’ stature in U.S. classrooms has declined somewhat through the years, and many districts will not observe his namesake holiday on Oct. 12, reports the Associated Press. Although lessons vary, many teachers are trying to present a more balanced perspective of what happened after Columbus reached the Caribbean and the suffering of indigenous populations. "The whole terminology has changed," said James Kracht, executive associate dean for academic affairs in the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development. "You don’t hear people using the world ‘discovery’ anymore like they used to … because how could he discover America if there were already people living here?" In Texas, students start learning in the fifth grade about the "Columbian Exchange," which consisted not only of gold, crops and goods shipped back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, but diseases carried by settlers that decimated native populations. In McDonald, Pa., 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, fourth-grade students at Fort Cherry Elementary put Columbus on trial this year–charging him with misrepresenting the Spanish crown and thievery. They found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison. "In their own verbiage, he was a bad guy," teacher Laurie Crawford said…

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