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How Can Elementary-level U.S. History Education Improve?

Kurt Leichtle
Chair of History and Philosophy Department (University of Wisconsin-River Falls)

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A nation without history is but an empty shell. The present state of history in the elementary schools is in danger of becoming an empty shell despite the efforts of effective, dedicated teachers.  Read more »

Katy Swalwell
Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education (George Mason University, VA)

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Our best hope is that current and future teachers become critical consumers of state standards and district-sponsored materials and see themselves as “smugglers” of good history back into the school day.  Read more »

Tim Bryant
Elementary School Teacher (Amarillo, TX)

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Elementary history education lies in need of a paradigm shift. In a time when critical thinking and problem solving drive instruction, educators need to realize history provides an avenue to practice these skills.  Read more »

Stacy Hoeflich
Fourth-grade Teacher (Alexandria, VA)

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As a result of the federal push for qualitative and quantitative skills and the state emphasis on knowledge of regional history, teachers are forced to relay vast amounts of information to their students in a very limited amount of time. Can this issue be solved by extensive teaching preparation? Or is elementary history education beyond repair?  Read more »

Elise Fillpot
BHH Project Director, Department of History Visiting Professor (University of Iowa, IA)

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The current state of history education in elementary schools denies students the right to systematically study the past. However, projects like Bringing History Home and an increased focus on information literacy might be able to fill in the gaps in historical study.  Read more »

Michael Long
Elementary School Administrator (Whittier, CA)

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Teachers often blame time-consuming standardized testing for the history education deficit; however, school subjects are segregated because we no longer use teaching methods that allow for natural overlaps in content. Specifically, reading should not be a stand-alone subject, but rather, relayed through historic accounts and primary documents to teach history content and model civic language and values.  Read more »