I Accuse: Social Studies must be utilized

In “I Accuse,” inspired by the famous open letter by Emile Zola bearing the same name, Opinion Editor Justin Hawkins seeks to challenge established ideas, whether political in nature or related to JC. No one can hide from the truth.


History is one of the most important subjects you can study in your life. To know your past is to know your future. The lack of emphasis placed on history absolutely crushes me. How can anyone take the school’s mission statement seriously — it “prepares [students] to serve responsibly in shaping a more just and compassionate global society” —  if students are not even educated about a global society.

JC certainly doesn’t educate students about anything close to a global society, unless the map of the world only includes the United States and Europe. To truly understand the state of the world today, we must be educated in a more global perspective. The rest of the world has a massive vault of knowledge for us to learn from.

Here, we can take the following history courses: Human Geography, Western Civilizations part I and II (note the Western part), AP European History, and United States History. (I do not deny the importance of U.S. history as it relates most to we the citizens of the U.S. and is also a state mandated class). That is it.

There is also American government, however this is not a history class as it is categorized as a Social Studies.

So what is up with all the Eurocentrism? There used to be a World History class at JC, my dad took it. I fully stand behind bringing that class back. It could be exchanged for Euro and West Civ (as Euro is the AP version of West Civ) or perhaps with Human Geo.

Another proposal would be to make AP Gov a one semester class, so students taking that class in the first semester would then take a class called AP Comparative Government and Politics. This class is basically a more world oriented government course. It compares the US government to the government of other countries in various places such as Mexico, Great Britain, China, Russia, Nigeria, and Iran. (You can read more about the course here.)

There are two major benefits to adding AP Comparative Government and Politics. It would allow students to understand how other governments function and provide that global perspective JC ought to be providing. More tangibly, it allows for students to get two AP classes for the price of one. Many schools do this as the two AP exams overlap considerably.

I also would advocate that there be more social studies courses offered in general and people be allowed to double up in social studies as they are able to in science. This would allow for students who wanted to pursue the study of history in college a way to distinguish themselves and stand out from the crowd. It would also be helpful if a student was allowed to graduate with distinction in social studies. This would also help students to get into colleges, which should certainly be the highest priority of JC.

I recommend that these proposals be taken into consideration as they could really help to maximize one of JC’s greatest strengths. By doing this, JC would be helping its students who are interested in things other than STEM, which has been heavily pushed at JC. This is still a very strong liberal arts school, and JC should embrace those students like they embrace STEM students.

Justin Hawkins is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.