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THANKSGIVING: ALL OF IT
Virtually everything learned in school about Thanksgiving is a lie, including the central story of the feast celebrating a partnership between Native Americans and early European settlers. The Pilgrims were fanatical and violent religious zealots who considered indigenous Americans savages, and the Indians naturally resented their presence. The modern, feel-good story is propaganda that’s only 120 years old, but there was a celebratory feast in Massachusetts in 1637 — proclaimed by Gov. John Winthrop for the return of Puritan gunmen from hunting and murdering hundreds of Pequot Indians.

AMERICA GAVE THE WORLD DEMOCRACY
The rise of America undoubtedly shattered the era of kings and queens ruling over monarchies, which had existed in Europe for centuries. But the common schoolhouse lesson that America invented democracy would be news to the Greeks, who introduced “demokratia,” or direct rule by the people, which included three branches of government, in 507 B.C.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS AN ABOLITIONIST
History teachers are quick to remind students that Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator.” In reality, however, Lincoln’s views evolved over time and he came to anti-slavery movement late in the game. He said publicly and repeatedly that he would tolerate slavery to preserve the Union. His anti-slavery sentiments, at least early on, seemed more pragmatic than moral, as revealed in his famous “house divided” speech.

THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION FREED THE SLAVES
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was limited in effect — first limited to slaves in rebel states, and then not universally known. The holiday of Juneteenth, celebrates the moment June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers rode into Galveston, Texas, to tell America’s last remaining slaves they were free. This was news to the slaves, who had never heard of the proclamation, signed two and a half years earlier.

POT IS A GATEWAY DRUG
Anyone who went to school during the just-say-no era of the drug war knows that while marijuana itself isn’t so bad, experimenting with it leads to addiction, incarceration, and death from street drugs. For years, educators accepted the “gateway” theory, a 1950s scare tactic that has since been widely debunked and acknowledged as myth in 2016 by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Social ailments such as poverty, bad home environment, and early exposure are better indicators of future addiction.

SLAVERY ENDED WITH THE CIVIL WAR
The 13th Amendment supposedly ending slavery still allowed forced labor as punishment for a crime. Convict leasing existed in every Southern state for decades after the Civil War. Tens of thousands of Black Americans who committed no real crime were kidnapped off the streets by corrupt local sheriffs, convicted in informal local courts for vague “crimes” such as vagrancy, issued fines they couldn’t pay, and sold to businesses to work in mines, timber yards, farms and railroads in conditions often worse than slavery.

AMERICA IS THE FREEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
“It’s a free country” is a mantra most kids probably hear before they even get to school. The reality, however, is that 22 countries are freer than the United States. The Human Freedom Index ranks America No. 23 on its global list, based on government size, religion, labor, trade, rule of law, and basic freedoms such as movement and association.

ALBERT EINSTEIN FLUNKED MATH
Many sub par math students have been consoled by encouraging teachers who remind them that even Einstein — history’s most famous mathematical genius — flunked math class. He did not. He mastered differential and integral calculus by 15, and taught himself algebra and geometry with books his parents bought him before he was 12 so he could master the fields on his own over summer vacation.

WATER TOWERS STORE DRINKING WATER
It’s true that some water towers store drinking water, but even in those cases, the main function of a water tower is to create water pressure. Most drinking water comes from wells, reservoirs, lakes or rivers. The reason water rushes out when you turn on your faucet is because massive stores of water in vertical, gravity-fed water towers apply enough pressure to force water to flow through your municipality’s network of underground pipes leading to your house.

THIS WILL GO ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD
Generations of teachers and principals kept students in line with the most ridiculous threat in the history of U.S. education: The next behavioral infraction will go on your permanent record. There is no permanent record. Some districts do keep files on students that contain personal information and attendance records, but even in those cases, anyone who isn’t the student or the student’s parent — including college admissions officers — can’t access the record without a written release.

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