Essential History Content K-12, P Gagnon

Tags: Europe, United States, civilizations, Asia, National Council for History Education, Council for Basic Education, History, History Curriculum, science and technology, World history, technology, European Union, national sovereignty, Eastern Europe, China, Emancipation Proclamation, Louisiana Purchase, social consequences, Protestant Reformation, social Darwinism, Latin American wars of independence, survey courses, teachers, history standards, national standards, North America, American Revolution, Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln, Tokugawa Shogunate, United Kingdom, Columbian Exchange, Opium War, Era of Revolutionary Change, political motives, Henry VIII, consequences, Catholic Reformation, political science, world power, Tsarist Russia, Latin America, Western Europe, social reform, The Scientific Revolution, National Assessment of Educational Progress, racial extermination, Manchu dynasty, Western imperialism in Africa, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, America, National Assessment of Education Progress, Peloponnesian Wars, Causes of the Great Depression, weapons of mass destruction, Americans at war, civilization, Vietnam War, Liberal democracy, the 19th Amendment, Cuban missile crisis, effects of technology, Brown v. Board of Education, United States history, women's suffrage in the United States, Western civilization, mass consumption, the Harlem Renaissance, social security, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, United Nations, History of the World, California State Department of Education, History-Social Science Framework, National Assessment Governing Board, History/Social Science, National Council, Kansas State Board of Education, National Standards for History, National Center for History, Mississippi Department of Education, Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools, Department of Education, Social Studies, California Academic Standards Commission, Bradley Commission on History in Schools, Center for Civic Education, National Standards for Civics and Government, Geography Education Standards Project, Washington, DC, main topics
Content: The Essential History Content for K-12 Paul Gagnon 2001 I. Introduction The Place and purpose of the paper as one of several for the project entitled Joint History/Geography Education: A Meaningful Relationship. II. Obstacles in Our Way Descriptions of difficulties to be encountered as the project tries to integrate the learning of Geography and History in K-12 classrooms. Obstacles include the oft-fragmented social studies curriculum, the bloated nature of the national standards for History, the amorphous nature of the national social studies standards, and the resulting difficulties states confront in writing teachable standards or frameworks of their own, difficulties compounded by failure to vest authority in scholars and teachers of subject matter. III. The Essentials of History Education at the Pre-College Level Presents a common core of vital topics in United States and World History, extracted from some twenty national, professional, state, and foreign standards documents for History. Following each topic are a few, highly selective, prominent details from which teachers may begin to design units and lessons. A good many of the details require integration with Geography. Along with listing some 60 topics across eight eras for United States history, Section IIIA argues for at least a two-year sequence of courses in each field, United States and World history, in upper middle and high school. It argues that only era-limited courses give teachers time for meaningful links with Geography, as well as with other Social Sciences and Humanities. It also suggests a use of curricular time allowing teachers to choose topics to pursue in some depth, as opposed to survey-like equal time for all. Along with listing some 60 main topics across seven eras for World history, Section IIIB explains why World history poses greater challenges to middle and high school teachers than does United States history. It also explains the relative emphasis on the history of Western civilization in this selection of topics, but how the most significant aspects of the other major world civilizations are to be included. IV. Conclusion Cautionary remarks on learning from foreign lands, on needed changes for undergraduate education of prospective teachers, on statewide assessment systems, on not expecting to succeed with all students, and on explaining our demands to students and public.
I. Introduction Our project title is "Joint History/Geography Education: A Meaningful Relationship." We believe, as common sense has it, that "you can't teach one subject without the other." But too often they are taught apart, diluting the effect of both. To bring History and Geography together in American classrooms, to let each illuminate the other, we first have to decide what is most important for students to learn from the study of each and then weave them together. This paper argues for a core of essential content in United States and World history that all students should study, and when necessary revisit, across their elementary, middle, and high school years. As it goes along, it will cite or imply links between History and Geography, but fuller treatment of their "meaningful relationship" appears in other papers of this series. For now, it is enough to say that "interdisciplinary" may be too high-flying a term. It carries baggage better left aside: a ponderous pretentiousness at the pre-university level, a tendency to pull students away from larger historical and geographical perspectives and into a top-forty "theme" or "inquiry" of the day, and, worst of all, to let them think they have learned more than is usually possible from the time and materials they have at hand. For now, the better term is meaningful relationship, in which relevant, lively aspects of each subject are used to teach the other more memorably. II. Obstacles in Our Way What are the obstacles to this desired end? The most obvious is the curricular distance among social studies subjects in American schools: civics/government, economics, geography, and history. Teaching them separately rather than together--in the context of real people's lives in historical time and geographical place--is an American departure from practice in most advanced societies. Unhappily, the "standards" movement has further stirred the separatist temptation by bringing in university specialists of each subject to write up the curricular wishdreams of their disciplines. Thus the second obstacle to a teachable combination of Geography and History are the national standards documents for the latter. Defying the clear guidelines for standards projects funded by the U. S. Department of Education in the early 1990's, the academic writers in charge failed to ask themselves two questions. First: what is most important for American students to know from each subject, and what can be left out? Second: laid end to end, were their "standards" teachable within the K-12 years? We now have answers: almost nothing was left out, so these national standards are not teachable. An instructive contrast is the national Civics document, whose authors, including academicians, had long experience with schools and students, in this country and abroad. It is also true that by its nature Civics already enjoys a more favorable position in school curricula. Much of it can be taught in the context of American and World history across the grades, and it usually has a high school capstone course in the senior year. The story of History itself is different. Its national standards document goes far beyond what could be offered even by superbly prepared teachers. The United States history standards would challenge the brightest university history major; the World history items would not be expected of doctoral students. The authors argue that their hundreds of pages and sweeping
demands are not meant as curricular designs, but as sources from which schools may build their own curricula and courses. But the documents do not say so, and are not read that way by state departments of education writing content standards and K-12 curricular frameworks for themselves. Nor are they read that way by text publishers and the growth industry of assessment. As a result, most state standards and frameworks fall into two categories, both unfriendly to our hope for supportive relations between Geography and History. On the one hand, wary of the encyclopedic nature of the national standards, some states have settled for their own version of the national social studies standards published in 1994 by the National Council for the Social Studies. These offer no systematic approach to either Geography or History, but tortuously press them into ten arbitrary "themes" that cut across history and the social sciences, dipping in and out, fragmenting their study. National social studies "performance" standards (e.g., "analyze and explain the ways groups, societies, and cultures address human needs and concerns") are abstract and boundless. Nowhere can readers find a hint of particular factual knowledge we would need to "analyze" anything of importance. Nor a hint of the required common core of knowledge and skills that is the first condition for Equal Opportunity to learn. Under conventional national and state social studies standards, the old pretense of "different but equal" can still prosper: substance (at times) for the few; busywork and edutainment for the masses. On the other hand, many states recently writing standards and frameworks have taken on something like the national standards for their own uses. The results are encyclopedic, and the states tend to add--as the national World History standards did--general, sweeping demands on top (e.g., "analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of Medieval Europe" and "how cultural characteristics can link or divide regions, in terms of language, ethnic heritage, religion, political philosophy, social and economic systems, and shared history"). Some writers did try to focus upon topics most worth teaching, but their documents still overflow the time teachers have available and cannot serve as fair bases for testing student achievement. Behind these particular shortcomings is the larger obstacle to improvement in the quality and equality of American schools: the abiding misunderstanding, on the part of educators and public alike, of the purposes and necessities of standards-based school reform. The first purpose is equity: to offer all students and adolescents the common core of academic content usually offered only to those in certain "tracks" at certain schools. States must decide on the most important learning to be gained from studying each subject. The first necessity is that these decisions be made by seasoned teachers and scholars of each subject, working together as equals, informing each other. Only they know what should be taught and how. Only they can grasp and meet the other necessities: that the required content be teachable and sensibly articulated across the grades, and that test questions be true to the sequence and substance of K-12 instruction, and allow for teacher choice of emphases. No state board or department of education has yet vested such authority in its own subject matter teachers and scholars. Behind numberless focus groups and "community" reviews, drafting and final decisions have usually been left to department staff or to generic consultants in curriculum and assessment. As a result, there is no single state model to copy directly. III. The Essentials of History Education at the Pre-College Level
The essential below are not mere basics, but selected from demanding sources: the U.S. History Framework for the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress (1994); the National Standards for History, Basic Edition, from the National Center for History in the Schools (1996); Building a United States History Curriculum (1997) and Building a World History Curriculum (1998) from the National Council for History Education; Standards for Excellence in Education (1998) from the Council for Basic Education; and from parts of state history standards or frameworks including those of California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. World history topics were also checked against national standards in France and the United Kingdom. With few exceptions, these topics appear in one wording or other in most of the above documents as essential items for all students to study, whether in depth or briefly, across Grades 5-12 curricula. Documents also name critical items--such as the Constitution in U.S. history and major religions in World history--to be introduced in lower grades and revisited later. One caution is needed here. Although these core items are much fewer in number than in most state frameworks, they cannot be compressed into single-year survey courses, but require at least two years of instruction in United States history (many divide near 1877, the end of Reconstruction, as textbooks do) and two years in World history (divided at such points as 1650 or 1750). Only such era-limited courses give teachers time to do selected topics in depth, to vary their pace of teaching, to exercise students' skills in study and writing, to forge our desired meaningful relationship with geography and the other social sciences, with the arts and literature, and to bring the study of history down to students' lifetimes. No modern foreign nation forces its own history or the history of the world into single year survey courses. A. Essential Topics: History of the United States Again, the 60 or so bulleted topics below appear in most of the documents focused on United States history. They are familiar to teachers who teach the subject even at the Grade 5 level, and resemble the table of contents in standard textbooks from middle school through early college years. Given the brevity of American history, identifying main topics is not a problem for teachers, though they must be free and knowledgeable to select which to treat in some depth and which to do more quickly. Their main ensuing problem is selecting specifics from mounds of detail in national and state standards and frameworks, swollen textbooks, and the rising flood of data pouring from cyberspace. By its nature, history poses greater problems of selection than other subjects do. Merely listing familiar main topics does not help teachers to design courses. Nor does a litany of abstract "understandings." Nor a tome of unsorted specifics. To help them, and to further our integration of history, geography, and civics, we need a moderate level of detail--not too much, not too little, just enough to follow main topics with a suggested story line that is central, engaging, and more worth pursuing than others might be. The relatively few details accompanying each main topic here are chosen to do just that. Needless to say, most are also to be found in the documents above and in standard textbooks. Teachers and curriculum planners also deserve a word on the time needed for this body of "essentials." United States and World history each have about 60 main topics. Given twoyear course sequences for each in upper middle and high school, a year's course would have only about 30 topics. Moreover, substantive courses in early United States and World history in
Grades 5, 6 or 7--already common--can further cut the number of main topics for Grades 8-11, though needed reviews will take some time. Of the usual 180 days in the school year, teachers can count no more than 150 as open for systematic instruction. To give 30 main topics equal time, teachers would have five days, one week, for each. This lets them devote two, or even three, weeks each term to several chosen topics, if a few others are done briefly, not in depth but just enough for students to have "read and heard about." This is the way most of us have learned much of what we know of history, the social sciences, and the humanities--some in depth, some read and heard about. School and assessment authorities need to accept this reality in regard to these subjects. Otherwise our hopes for better Geography and History will be in vain. 1. Early History of the Americas (Beginnings to 1650) a. Physical geography of the Western Hemisphere: differing environments b. Pre-Columbian peoples of the Western hemisphere: differing economics, politics, warfare; differing treatment of nature and neighbors c. European explorers and conquerors: the technology, geography, politics, and economics of European expansion d. African backgrounds: diverse geography, contrasting societies and politics; trans-Saharan commerce; Muslim-African slave trade e. First encounters between indigenous peoples and Europeans: consequences and legacies of the "Columbian Exchange" 2. The Colonial Era in North America (1600 to 1763) a. Diverse religious, economic, and political motives and practices of Spanish, French, Dutch, and English colonizers and settlers of North America b. Coexistence and conflict between Europeans and North American Indians c. Geographic, economic, social, and religious differences among Atlantic colonies d. Colonial era labor and the origins of slavery in North America e. Local geography and history: work, school, worship, family life in one's locality f. Rising differences with England: economic interests; political practices; social customs; consequences of the French and Indian War 3. The American Revolution and the New Republic (1750 to 1815) a. Causes of the American Revolution: events, ideas, interests, activists
b. Deciding factors of the Revolutionary War: geography, leaders, morale, foreign aid, and turning-points c. The Anglo-American political heritage: Greco-Roman memories, Judeo-Christian moral precepts, Magna Carta, rise of Parliament, the English Revolution, activist colonial politics, ideas of the Enlightenment era d. Documents and debates: Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, state constitutions, Articles of Confederation, Northwest Ordinance; the Federalists and antiFederalists e. The U.S. Constitution: federalism as balance of power, limited government; three branches as separation of powers; compromises at Philadelphia; the Bill of Rights f. The early Republic: Washington as first, innovative statesman; Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison; the party system; sharp conflict but peaceful change g. Evolution of the Supreme Court: John Marshall; Marbury v. Madison 4. Economic Growth, Expansion, and Sectionalism (1800 to 1861) a. Geography of expansion: Louisiana Purchase; Lewis and Clark b. Early industrial revolution: energy, manufacture, transportation; changing significance of geography and resources c. The expanding Northern industrial system: capital, factories, labor, trade d. The expanding Southern economic system: land, agriculture, slavery, trade e. Attempts at reform: abolitionism, women's rights, labor, common schools, orphanages, poorhouses, hospitals, asylums, prisons; utopian communities f. Jacksonian era: white male suffrage; advent of mass political campaigns; selective egalitarianism: the spoils system, the Trail of Tears g. New immigrants: Irish famine; Central European revolutions; nativist anti-foreign hostility and violence; laborers divided by ethnicity and religion h. Westward migration: seizure of Indian lands; war on Mexico; new demographic diversity in the American Southwest and California 5. Crises of the Union: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850 to 1877) a. The slave society: labor, families, religion; resistance passive and armed; the Underground Railroad
b. Failure of repeated compromises over slavery: Kansas-Nebraska Act; Dred Scott decision; John Brown's raid; rising hatreds rend the nation c. Abraham Lincoln: character and beliefs; election; First Inaugural plea for peace; secession of the Confederacy; its war aims d. The Civil War: stages, turning-points, and human toll; deciding factors in the Union victory: geography, resources, production, manpower, morale, leaders e. War and Lincoln's aims: Emancipation Proclamation; Gettysburg Address; the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments; Second Inaugural Address; assassination f. Reconstruction: conflicting purposes; advances and retreats; election of 1876; collapse of Congressional and Northern reformism; a lawful Union fails to emerge 6. The Emergence of Modern America (1865 to 1920) a. Unfinished emancipation: Jim Crow, lynch law; Plessy v Ferguson b. Industrial growth: resources; inventions; government support; foreign investment c. New world of business, corporation, investment banking, monopolies, stock exchange; political alliances; the Gospel of Wealth d. The struggle to organize labor: grievances; strikes, union weaknesses and divisions; opposing forces in business, government, and press e. New immigration and internal demographic shifts: African-American migration to North and West; immigrant life on the farm and in growing American cities f. The frontier "closed:" defeat of last Indian resistance; spoliation of tribes g. The Populist movement, aims and losses: the American farmers and the power of banks, railroads, processors, and commodity speculators h. Rise of the United States to world power: the Spanish-American War, the national debate over imperialism in the Philippines and Latin America i. The Progressive movement: reforms and their limits; aims and accomplishments of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson 7. The United States in the Era of World Wars (1914-1945) a. World War I: causes and toll; the economic, military, political roles played by the United States; the war's ultimate consequences for 20th century American life b. Postwar Isolation: Wilson's defeat; Congressional rejection of the promised alliance with Britain and France, of the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations
c. The winning of women's suffrage in the United States: the 19th Amendment d. The 1920's: Jazz age culture of the prosperous; the automobile; mass consumption and amusement; literature of the Lost Generation and the Harlem Renaissance e. The underside: race conflict and nativism; the Klan; poverty in cities, on farms f. Causes of the Great Depression: economic fault lines at home and abroad g. American democracy in crisis: mass joblessness, lost savings, homes, farms; broken families; demagogues on Left and Right; 1930's novels, photos, movies h. FDR's New Deal: bank and stock regulation; social security; public works; gains for organized labor; support for farmers i. Liberal democracy attacked by totalitarians of Left and Right; Nazi aggression in Europe; United States isolationism ends at Pearl Harbor, December 1941 j. World War II: Americans at war in Europe and the Pacific; technology, turning-points, and human cost of global war, genocide; economic/social change at home 8. The United States since World War II (1945 to the Present) a. Reversal of post-WWI U.S. foreign policy: responses to European ruin and Soviet expansionism; the United Nations; the Marshall Plan, NATO; armed readiness b. Postwar prosperity: faith in progress; post-WWI domestic policies also reversed; New Deal programs continue; GI bill for education, home ownership c. The `fifties: anti-Communism at home; war in Korea; fears of nuclear catastrophe; rising demands for desegregation; Brown v. Board of Education; advent of television, society's crises and conflicts pictured in the living room d. The `sixties and `seventies: Cuban missile crisis; assassinations and trauma; Civil Rights movement and legislation; rights pressed for women, migrant workers, the disabled; political disillusion from divisive Vietnam War, Watergate scandal e. The `eighties and `nineties: continued racial tensions; new waves of immigrants; troubling effects of technology and globalization on American manufacturing industries; export of capital and jobs; trade deficits; widening income gaps f. Collapse of the Soviet Union; new world disorders and American responses; rise of China and European Union; spread of weapons of mass destruction g. Continued debate over government's role in the economy, education, utilities, communications, health care, environment, social and racial inequalities
B. Essential Topics: History of the World As is the case for United States history, the 60 or so bulleted topics below appear in all but a few of the consulted documents concerned with World history. With that, the resemblance ends. Teaching World history in American schools is more challenging than teaching the nation's history. The problem of selection is magnified a hundredfold. Textbooks, together with national and state standards and frameworks, set forth an overwhelming mass of topics, details, "perspectives" and "understandings" on many more and longer eras, and multiple civilizations. Teachers are less likely to have systematically studied World history or Western civilization in middle and high school years, or even as university history majors. They are less confident of their ability to select the vital from the peripheral or to engage students in the study of "others" distant in time and place. The national World history standards, representing the collective knowledge of an entire profession (but which no single university historian would expect to master), leave them breathless, as do some state documents rated highly by national surveys. For these reasons and to make this selection immediately useful to teachers, the suggested details accompanying each main topic here are more numerous and more specific than for United States history, especially as one approaches the present day, when the unordered flood of "information" obscures the lines of vital issues. Again, the number and choices of details directly reflect the common core of specifics in the documents cited above. Finally, there is no blinking the fact that the selection below, like those in most state standards and frameworks, accords priority to Western civilization in relation to other world civilizations. It is World history for Americans, a history whose bulk is teachable. Two reason are obvious. First, we Americans--regardless of origin--are not knowable to ourselves or each other without a grasp of Western ideas, institutions, and works, for good and ill. Second, it is manifestly impossible to give equal weight to all major world civilizations in the curricular time available. The history of the West does not belong only to Americans of European background. Indeed, the peasant ancestors of most European-Americans had no more connection to the high reaches of Western thought, culture, and politics in ancient, medieval, and early modern eras than did the peasants of Africa, Asia, or the Americas. The significance of Western civilization to Americans is not that it is "theirs" or that they "see themselves" in it. Nor is it a heritage of treasure alone, morally or aesthetically better than the others. It is, quite simply, a legacy we live with every day, genes of the mind, just as the body may inherit good bones or vulnerability to certain diseases. Those who attack the relative stress on Western civilization must accept the burden of saying how else Americans are to learn of the moral and ethical heritage of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; medieval, early modern, and contemporary religious reformism; the long struggles for free government, equal rights, religious tolerance, social justice, free inquiry, free enterprise, and the leaders and conditions behind their success or failure. And how else they are to weight Enlightenment faith in reason and progress; the worldwide influence of American and French revolutions; the 19th century classes and ideas behind liberalism, conservatism, socialism, and social democracy, all vigorously debated in our time. Or to grasp the malign forces of integral nationalism, imperialism, racism, Social Darwinism, Western forms of autocracy and
militarism, Bolshevism and Nazism; and the still-rolling effects of world wars, of the Cold War, of the rising global economy. It is, of course, not all we have to know. Global educators rightly warn us not to ignore other civilizations, especially when the globe is still more a jungle than a village, and when so many Americans have other than Anglo-European roots and legacies. The question is how much knowledge to require. This selection assumes that all Americans in common should know the central shaping ideas and adventures of teach other's ancestral people, their persisting traditions and memories, their current condition and anxieties. Therefore it stresses the main beliefs and moral teachings of their religions, ethics, and philosophies, their most memorable works of art and learning, invention, and innovation, together with the sources of their power, and candid accounts of how that power has been used toward their own people and outsiders in times both of dominance and of weakness, past and present. In sum, what we ought to be willing to have other peoples know of us. 1. Human Origins and First Civilizations (Prehistory to c. 1000 B.C.) a. Archeology; sources of evidence, tools; current discoveries b. Geography and migration: climate, topography, soil, waters, plant and animal life c. Neolithic revolution: agricultural technology; rising food production; origins of town and city life; opportunities for "civilization" d. River civilizations in the early Middle East and Asia: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus Valley, China; Evolution of Language and writing 2. Ancient Civilizations (1000 B.C. to c. 500 A.D.) a. Ancient Israel: central beliefs and moral teachings of Judaism; ethical monotheism; the Ten Commandments; the prophets; individual and social responsibility b. Classical Greek civilization: myth, epic, drama, philosophy, science; the "golden mean" of Classicism as guide for the arts and human behavior c. Athens and Sparta: Persian and Peloponnesian Wars; Plato and Aristotle on politics; Athenian democracy, practices and limits; demagogues, imperialism d. Hellenism: Alexander the Great; preservation and spread of Greek learning e. India's classical age: beliefs and moral teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism; the spread of Buddhism to East and Southeast Asia f. China's classical age: ethical and social teachings of Confucianism; the legacy of Taoism; consolidation and decline of Han empire g. Roman civilization: the Republic's constitution and political legacy; class strife and demagogues; the turn to empire and dictatorship
h. Imperial Rome: geographical and military aspects of Pax Romana; legacy of law, administration, engineering; Latin language and literature i. Christianity: central beliefs and moral teachings; the New Testament; Sermon on the Mount; Christianity's expansion across the Roman Empire j. Fall of the Roman Empire: study of cause in history; geography, migrations, economic and social forces, political/military problems internal and external 3. Expansion of Agricultural and Commercial Civilizations (500 to 1500 A.D.) a. Islam: central beliefs and moral teachings; the Koran; spread of Muslim power and learning; coexistence and conflict with medieval Europe; the Crusades b. City-states and empires in Africa: vast geographic variation; Ghana; Mali; trans-Saharan camel trade; gold, salt, slaves; spread of Islamic religion c. The Middle Empire in China: Mongol and Ming periods; trade, exploration; Golden Age of arts and learning; Buddhism and monasticism in East Asia d. Japan's classical age: geographic proximities and barriers; Sino-Japanese culture; Shintoism, Buddhism, Confucianism; Japanese feudalism; code of the samurai e. Origins of Russia: Kiev adopts Eastern Orthodox Christianity; Russia under the Mongols; rise of Muscovy, autocracy, Moscow as the "third Rome" f. Pre-Columbian American societies: Mayan, Aztec, Incan; contrasting geography; differing economies, societies, governance, military g. Shaping forces of early European civilization: Roman; Christian; invading peoples; monastic preservation of Greco-Roman and Christian learning h. European feudal and manorial systems: military and economic contracts; code of chivalry; serfdom; the Roman Church as lawmaker; the three social estates i. Europe in the later Middle Ages: monarchs, assemblies; the Magna Carta and Model Parliament; growth of trade, towns; a new "middle" class; universities 4. The Early Modern Era and the Rise of the West (1450-1750) a. The Renaissance: causes for "great ages;" economic, social, political, cultural; city-states and Papacy as patrons of arts and learning; memories of Rome b. Renaissance artists and humanists, South and North: works and legacies; Dante, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Erasmus, Shakespeare
c. Protestant Reformation: old and immediate causes of revolution: leaders, ideas, economic and political motives; Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII, Catholic Reformation d. China in early modern times: the late Ming turn inward, restrictions on trade and exploration; the flourishing of arts; origins of the Manchu dynasty e. Japan: feudal disorder ended by Tokugawa Shogunate; hostility to Western economic, social, and religious influence; trade and travel cut, ports closed f. European expansion: the geography, economics, technology of exploration; European conquest in America and its consequences; the Columbian Exchange g. Centralization of European nation-states: absolute monarchy, Louis XIV, Peter the Great; constitutional governments, the English Revolution, Bill of Rights 5. The Era of Revolutionary Change (1700 to 1914) a. The Scientific Revolution: prior advances, Copernicus, Galileo; Newton's rational, harmonious, predictable universe; the "laws" of nature; faith in scientific method b. The Enlightenment in Europe and America: the "laws" of society; Hobbes, Locke; the Philosophes; faith in reason and progress; the "Enlightened Despots" c. American and French Revolutions: contrasting causes and stages; launch of global expectations of national sovereignty, self-government, liberty, justice, equality d. Latin American wars of independence: dominance of the military; abiding economic, social, and racial inequalities e. Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions in England and Western Europe; steam; factory and mine machines; railroads; industrial cities; social consequences f. 19th century classes and "isms": Conservatism, Liberalism, republicanism, social democracy, socialism, Marxism, social Darwinism; pre-1914 revolution and reform g. The new Western imperialism in Africa and Asia: multiple motives and causes; consequences for both the colonized and the colonizers h. Chinese resistance to the West: the Opium War; anti-foreign rebellions; the Chinese Republican Revolution of 1911 i. Japan: the Meiji "revolution"; economic and military modernization; rise to world power; crushing defeats of Manchu China and Tsarist Russia 6. The 20th Century World and Global Wars (1900 to 1945) a. The century's turn: prewar optimism of developed Western peoples; progress in science, medicine, technology; rising living standards; social reform; free schooling
b. Background of World War I: ethnic nationalism rampant; decay of the Ottoman and Austrian empires; alliances, arms races; economic and colonial rivalries c. The First World War: immediate causes, failure of diplomacy in July, 1914; military plans, campaigns, and human consequences of 1914-1918 warfare d. The Russian revolutions of 1917: defeat of social and political moderates; ideas and practices of the Bolsheviks; freely-elected Assembly suppressed e. The Paris Peace Conference: European chaos, postwar violence; divided Allies; the Versailles Treaty and American withdrawal f. The Great Depression: wartime and other causes; the undermining of limited, moderate government in Italy, Eastern Europe, Germany g. International Communism: based in Leninist/Stalinist totalitarian Soviet state; organized terror, prison labor camps; extermination of independent peasant class h. International Fascism: Italy, Spain, fall of German Republic; Nazi totalitarianism; terror, concentration camps, anti-Semitism, racial extermination, militarism i. The origins of World War II: Axis aggression; multiple roots of Anglo-French appeasement, American isolation; the democracies pacific and distracted j. World War II: phases and turning-points; factors in Allied victory; science and technology dependent on human choice and action; Russian and Western fronts k. Human life lost to 20th century war, pandemic, genocide; the Holocaust 7. The West and the World since 1945 a. The Cold War: Soviets seize power in Central and East European nations; Italy and France face Communist threats; U.S. containment policy, NATO; Warsaw Pact b. Reconstruction and reform in postwar Europe and Asia: the Marshall Plan; origins of the European Union; democratic constitution and rebuilding in Japan c. New nations emerge in "Third World:" wartime defeats dissolve European authority in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; prewar native activists come to power d. The United Nations: the League of Nations revised; early American leadership; Universal Declaration of human rights; peacekeeping efforts won and lost e. Cold War conflict: Red Chinese revolution; wars in Korea and Vietnam; covert East/West duels in Asia, Africa, Central and South America
f. The Soviet empire collapses: post-Cold War dangers; weapons of annihilation; terrorism; civil war; extreme nationalism; racial, ethnic, religious conflict g. Democracy and human rights since 1945: gains amid continuing struggle; Eastern Europe, Russia, South Asia, South Africa, Middle East, Latin America h. Evolving world economy: limits on national sovereignty and priorities i. Continuing issues posed by science and technology; genetic engineering; growth of population; epidemic and responses; environment; uses of space IV. Conclusion Even with the reordering of the K-12 social studies curriculum, carried out by people who know the subjects and how to teach and test them, there remain formidable obstacles to forging relations between geography and history that enrich them both. For our own good, we would do well to turn our "global consciousness" to societies whose public education is more demanding than ours, with higher rates of graduation from high school. A required common core of academic study, still debated here, is insisted on in most of Europe as indispensable to higher quality and greater equity in schooling. Our states are only at first steps to reach such a core. Moreover, most of their schools have long taught geography, history, and civics together, as we hope to do. It follows that their teachers are expected to bring to the classroom a sophisticated grasp of three subjects. Here too we are behind. Our project will bear fruit only if our colleges and universities manage to refine their undergraduate majors in geography, history, and political science, many of which proceed as though the others did not exist. Change will not be easy, against Academe's deep regard for specialization and departmental budgets. Improving teacher education in any single discipline, not to speak of three at once, also faces the drag of feeble, when not empty, general Education Programs for freshmen and sophomores. A great many young Americans who decide to become teachers have not had the advantage of the rigorous and well-balanced high school preparation typical of teacher candidates in other countries. What ours miss in high school they miss again in colleges no longer requiring substantial introductory courses in core academic disciplines. In consequence, American major or minor programs must allow or require juniors and seniors to spend considerable time on introductory courses. Needed change will require support from state boards of higher education and university trustees, because nationwide dissolution of general education programs has resulted from two forces that university deans and presidents have been unable to resist: one, academic fashions touted as innovative, defended on the principle of academic freedom; and two, department budgetary drives defended as "democratic" respect for the more recently-discovered principle of student free choice. Competition for enrollment all but ensures grade inflation and endless gimmickry in the critical underclass years. In effect, students paying to be prepared to teach are not getting what they pay for. The particular "essentials" listed here for history may be revised as our project proceeds, and by states and localities afterward. But however we decide what is more important and less important, kept in or left out, we cannot in fairness to teachers and students avoid the question of
whether our recommendations are teachable in the time at hand. And given our national romance with "accountability," we have no choice but to ask how student understanding of geographical and historical essentials can be fairly evaluated by our as yet untested assessment industry. By its nature, history requires teachers to work both breadth and depth. The historically-wise know that each depends upon the other. Studies in depth do not feed historical understanding without the drama and perspective of broad narrative, just as narrative is not enough without regular returns to depth. If this is true for history alone, it is doubly true for history melded with geography, in the company of political ideas and economics. Moreover, some choice of studies in depth must be left to local teachers. Traditional end-of-course examinations could "cover" the content taught, as well as allow school administrators (when knowledgeable enough) to evaluate the inner balance of the courses themselves. But statewide testing, especially at the end of grade "spans" rather than at end of grade years, raises a question no state assessment system has yet addressed. How are such tests to offer choices equivalent to those made at the local school level? If they do not, they are meaningless and likely to be destructive measurements of student achievement. To now, assessment firms by their nature have rejected choice as uncongenial to psychometric preferences. Worse, assessment experts and state departments of education have to now resisted turning over the design and writing of statewide examinations to the people best suited: experienced scholars and teachers of each subject who know the subject and how it is taught, who understand the state's curricular frameworks and their linkages across the elementary and secondary grades, and who can judge the kinds of question choices that can build teacher and public confidence in the fairness of state tests, while preserving the authority of common state standards and mandated frameworks. At this moment, the rigidity of state tests, their uneven academic quality, and their failure to reflect the content of curricular frameworks that teachers are called upon to convey, threaten to discredit the entire standards-based movement for school improvement. Finally, of the many obstacles to better learning of geography and history, we ought to clear away one of our own. We should no longer confuse ourselves by expecting all students to take to history or geography, any more than all of them take to the arduous, but in fact less difficult, work of learning calculus, the violin, or figure skating. Our subjects require students to learn and even to understand a very great deal of human reality, for which there are no guidelines or memorizable formulas. It is demonstrably easier to train an engineer or lawyer than to educate a citizen. And there is no way to tell ahead of time which students will take to what subject, at what age, or under what circumstances. We are, we must hope, beyond deciding which deserve substance and which can do without, on lines of class, race, nationality, job prospects, or deportment. So in a democratic society whose health depends on the political acuity and civic integrity of at least a strong minority of people, we are constrained to require our subjects of them all, to try to engage them all but not be tempted to water things down when we fail with quite a few. We know how a watered-down violinist sounds, and we know too well how watered-down citizens and elected officials talk and act. To get our way, we ceaselessly have to explain to students, parents, school authorities, legislators, and the public why we have to
demand so much time and work on tough subjects that are not always fun and make no big money. Sources Bradley Commission on History in Schools, Building a History Curriculum: Guidelines for Teaching History in Schools, Westlake, OH, 1988. California Academic Standards Commission, History/Social Science Content Standards, Grades K-12, Sacramento, CA, 1988. California State Department of Education, History-Social Science Framework, Sacramento CA, 1988; Updated Edition, 1997. Center for Civic Education, National Standards for Civics and Government, Calabasas, CA, 1994. Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Education, History and Social Science Curriculum Framework, Malden, MA, 1997. Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Education, Standards of Learning for Virginia public schools, Richmond, VA, 1995. Council for Basic Education, Standards for Excellence in Education: A Guide for Parents Washington, DC, 1998. District of Columbia Public Schools, English Language Arts and History Curriculum Framework, Washington, DC, 1996. Geography Education Standards Project, Geography for Life: National Geography Standards 1994, Washington, DC, 1996. Kansas State Board of Education, The Kansas Curricular Standards for Civics-Government, Economics, Geography and History, Third Draft, Topeka, KS, 1999. Ministиre de l'Education Nationale, de la Recherche, et de la Technologie, Enseigner au college: Histoire, Gиographie, Education Civique, Paris, 1998. Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi Social Studies Framework: Civics, Economics, Geography, History, Jackson, MS, 1998. Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Content Specifications for Statewide Assessment by Standard: Social Studies Grades 4, 8, & 11, Jefferson City, MO, 1998. National Assessment Governing Board, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. History Framework for the 1994 National Assessment of Education Progress, Washington, DC, 1994 National Center for History in the Schools, Lessons from History: Essential Understandings and Historical Perspectives Students Should Acquire, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 1992. National Center for History in the Schools, National Standards for History, Basic Edition, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 1996. National Council for History Education, Building a United States History Curriculum, Westlake, OH, 1997. National Council for History Education, Building a World History Curriculum, Westlake, OH, 1997. National Council for the Social Studies, Charting a Course: Social Studies for the 21st Century, Washington, DC, 1989. National Council for the Social Studies, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, Washington, DC, 1994.
New Jersey Department of Education, New Jersey Social Studies Curriculum Framework, Final Draft, Trenton, NJ, 1999. New York State Education Department, Learning Standards for Social Studies, revised edition, Albany, NY, 1996. Texas Education Agency, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies, Austin, TX, 1997. United Kingdom: Department of Education, The National Curriculum, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, London, 1995. Vermont Department of Education, Vermont's Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities: History and Socials Standards, Revised Edition, Montpelier, VT, 1999. Author Paul A. Gagnon serves as a Senior Research Associate at Boston University. Dr. Gagnon also served as Executive Director of the National Council for History Education and is former Resident Scholar at UCLA's Center for History in Schools.

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