Part of the progressive mind is the idea that everything must be made perfect to count. Hypocrisy is the greatest sin. In the public realm, this does not apply to their side. One maniac shoots up a movie theater, ban all guns these maniacs are loose! You did not mention Sacajawea during a Western Expansion course? Horrible racist sexist system! Not citing every tiny little contribution from every fringe group is a crime, and this applies in reverse to examples of what progressives consider bad. It is impossible to discuss everything. It is impossible to stop everything bad from ever happening again. Our schools have limited time with students of increasingly limited abilities to cram in every person of importance. If we could, children would know Charles Kettering.
A list of great Americans for public consumption sadly would list politicians and whatever feminist and/or minority studies tokens. Thomas Edison would make it with a squint and grimace from the magazine editor. Charles Kettering could and should be on that list. Kettering held almost 200 patents and is part of the reason you live in technological comfort. Freon for air conditioning? Kettering. Electric ignitions for cars to stop hand cranking? Kettering. Two stroke engine efficiency that allowed for the development of diesel trains? Kettering. Leaded gasoline? Kettering, but wait, that one had a massive downside. Kettering founded Delco and touched many other projects that allow modern comforts to exist now. Kettering was a science and technology guy but attuned to practical applications and the consumer market. Capitalism called for a self starting ignition, and Kettering answered the call.
Could American students identify him or even recognize the name? No. Does this make whining about students not knowing some lab assistant who was black or a woman stupid? Yes, but it becomes a weapon for progressives to use against the oppressive white, male system. Does it also make modern educators making a big deal out of gambling aficionado Ada Lovelace's one bit algorithm in her Notes and calling her the world's first computer programmer dumb hyperbole? Yes. This is our education system and the public space the progressives force on us. As far as Kettering, do we have a man like him around now that went blue collar to white collar, got a degree at nearly thirty, and became a driving force for so much innovation? ... No? Surprising considering the many additional millions we have now studying at our universities. To honor him, drive your car with the AC on to a commuter rail for a train ride into a city.