Larry Cuban has just published a very useful and thought-provoking post titled How History Is Taught In Schools.
In it, among other points, he contrasts “heritage” pedagogy (“cultivating a national identity, patriotism, and a faith in one’s nation”) with “historical” pedagogy (“not a single account of the past but many accounts”). He continues:
History is an interpretation of the past, not a fax that yesteryear has wired to the present.
This is a very shortened version of his description, and I’d encourage you to read his whole post.
It’s an interesting way of looking at it, one that I’ll certainly be raising in my International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge class.