NOTE: This was originally published here on January 8, 2016.
Note: I’m taking some time working on a more “scholarly” article, so here’s something a little fluffier just for fun in the mean time.
It always troubles me when someone bemoans history as a boring school subject in which they were forced to memorize useless dates and names. I have a BA in history, and I’m certain I could not recite even basic so-called “important” historical dates. For me, the value of history is in its lessons and stories.
Putting aside the problem with unqualified or disinterested coaches dominating social science classes (granted, there are some phenomenal coach-teachers), too many teachers teach history wrong. Dates are important and useful, but they’ll never be as interesting as knowing the honest and unfiltered stories of our nation and world. (I highly recommend James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Mefor an introduction to the world of textbook-less history.)
Even with a disdain for the classroom version of history, anyone can find an interesting story in the branches of their own family tree.
You may notice that last one isn’t linked to anything. That’s because, before moving out to start grad school, I couldn’t find a whole lot in the way of firsthand accounts from officers in the ACS pipeline. This is my contribution to what I feel is a sorely lacking selection of literature on the subject.
After two rounds of applications (first to teach at West Point and then to get into a reputable graduate program), I started my first semester of grad school as part of the Army’s Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) program in August. Here are some things I have learned at the conclusion of the semester and a quarter of the way through my Masters program.
This piece was first published on PMJWire, the online blog for PolicyMatters Journal, the journal of the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley. It was subsequently published here on December 16, 2015.