The 52 special

After the Crisis, Summer ends Early

by Ron Troupe, Daily Planet Senior Staff Reporter

METROPOLIS, AUGUST 8 — 

Across America, families are scrambling to fill the last gasps of summer – trying to use the new grill one more time, getting out to the ballpark to watch their virtually out-of-contention baseball team before the postseason, soaking up some sun on the beach.

But for some Opal City schoolteachers, summer ended early this year, as fallout from the Crisis continues to wreak havoc on classrooms. The Opal is just one of dozens of U.S. cities that have brought their history teachers in more than a month ahead of schedule, trying to reconcile conflicting accounts of world history from textbooks that have been part of school curricula for decades.

“In May, we were completing a unit on World War II and how the Spear of Destiny kept most of the superhero community from acting directly against the Axis powers on foreign soil,” recalls Heather Nicholas, a social-studies teacher at Ted Knight Junior High in Opal City’s “Old Town” neighborhood, “and as I explained that the heroes of the Justice Society devoted most of their activities to fighting saboteurs in Gotham City, one of my students asked if Superman was a member of the JSA in the 1940s. I had one answer, our textbook had another, and once the kids realized that there was no single right answer, well, we didn’t get a lot of teaching done that day.”

Nicholas continues, “Honestly, when I got home, I was so confused I walked right into a wall.”

While history lessons always vary depending on the age of the student – most adults recall that what they learned about American history in elementary school was very different from what they learned about the same period in high school or college – and some topics are highly subjective, the level of change experienced last year is unprecedented.

DC CHALLENGE, a Washington, D.C., textbook publisher, devoted considerable effort to rushing completion of the 520-page Brave New World History, a just-released volume that attempts to boil down contradictory material into a handful of “threads”, with an emphasis on the elements common across virtually all the conflicting memories of world events before the recent Crisis. The publisher has restored material from the out-of print Armageddon 2001, a text focusing on super-heroes and their role in shaping contemporary culture, while eliminating nearly all traces of Zero Hour, a more-comprehensive volume which has been largely invalidated by recent events.

Says a spokesperson, “We expect this to be the definitive contemporary-history text for years to come… unless, of course, history gets rewritten again. But how likely is that?”

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