Standards

Most States Earn Poor Grades for World-History Standards

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — June 13, 2006 1 min read

Only a few states expect schools to give students a grounding in world history, this at a time when more policymakers and business leaders are calling on high schools to prepare students for competing in a global economy, an analysis of state academic standards concludes.

Eight states—California, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia—earned A’s for their academic standards in world history, while 33 states earned D’s or F’s.

“The State of State World History Standards 2006" is posted by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

“A handful of states did really well, and two-thirds of states did really badly,” said Walter Russell Mead, a historian and foreign-policy expert who conducted the study for the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a research organization that advocates strong academic course content and school choice. “This does not bode well for students’ future [in the global marketplace] or for their world literacy.”

Mr. Mead, a senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, analyzed state standards in world history as well as the content of exams in the subject for the Advanced Placement program, the SAT II, and the New York state regents. Those exams received high ratings.

Eurocentric Content

Most standards documents, the study found, are vague in the content that students are expected to learn, and they are organized around themes instead of the chronological approach that the Washington-based foundation and many historians favor. Moreover, most state standards emphasize European history while neglecting content on Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

“At a time of intense national debate about immigration and assimilation, many states do not seem aware that there are countries and cultures south of the Rio Grande,” according to the report.

The report brings some needed attention to the inadequate focus on world history in the curriculum, said Peggy Altoff, the president-elect of the National Council for the Social Studies. But the deficit is part of a larger problem in history and social studies education, she said.

“They’ve brought attention to the fact that world history is not being taught,” said Ms. Altoff, a K-12 social studies supervisor in Colorado Springs, Colo. “But it’s part of a larger package of social studies subjects that is not being taught either.”

A version of this article appeared in the June 14, 2006 edition of Education Week as Most States Earn Poor Grades For World-History Standards

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards Social Studies Standards Spark Fierce Debate in N.C.
Advocates say the new standards are more inclusive because they give more attention to the perspectives of historically marginalized groups.
T. Keung Hui, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
6 min read
Illustration.
Kubkoo/iStock/Getty
Standards Opinion How the Failure of the Common Core Looked From the Ground
Steve Peha shares insights from his on-site professional-development work about why the common core failed, in a guest letter to Rick Hess.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards Opinion Common Core Is a Meal Kit, Not a Nothingburger
Caroline Damon argues Rick Hess and Tom Loveless sold the common core short, claiming the issue was a matter of high-quality implementation.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards How New Common Core Research Connects to Biden's Plans for Children and Families
A study of national test scores indicate the early phase of the Common Core State Standards did not help disadvantaged students.
5 min read
results 925693186 02
iStock/Getty