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Phillygirl
06-15-2011, 09:13 AM
Fewer than a quarter of American 12th-graders knew China was North Korea's ally during the Korean War, and only 35% of fourth-graders knew the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, according to national history-test scores released Tuesday.


The results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that U.S. schoolchildren have made little progress since 2006 in their understanding of key historical themes, including the basic principles of democracy and America's role in the world.

Only 20% of U.S. fourth-graders and 17% of eighth-graders who took the 2010 history exam were "proficient" or "advanced," unchanged since the test was last administered in 2006. Proficient means students have a solid understanding of the material.

The news was even more dire in high school, where 12% of 12th-graders were proficient, unchanged since 2006. More than half of all seniors posted scores at the lowest achievement level, "below basic." While the nation's fourth- and eighth-graders have seen a slight uptick in scores since the exam was first administered in 1994, 12th-graders haven't.

Link (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303714704576385370840592218.html?m od=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird)

Phillygirl
06-15-2011, 09:21 AM
This is a sin. I blame not only the schools, but the parents. There's not a trip that I take with the kids that we don't talk about history in some fashion. I also have "atlas quizzes". One child has the atlas and chooses topic or states from the atlas to ask questions from...it might be naming the state capital, or guessing the state nicknames, etc.

Now, every time we go on a trip the kid in the front seat always reaches for the atlas and starts the game him/herself.

My parents were by no means rich, but the few vacations we took always involved some sort of history, whether it was in Boston, Williamsburg, D.C. or just a visit to our local Revolutionary War Battlefield.

I always try to talk about current events with the kids as well, to make certain they have at least some connection to what is going on in the world through politics, government, war, etc.

Arroyo_Doble
06-15-2011, 09:22 AM
"What gets measured, gets taught,"

That's the problem, lady.

ralph wiggum
06-15-2011, 09:28 AM
Fewer than a quarter of American 12th-graders knew China was North Korea's ally during the Korean War

M*A*S*H should be mandatory viewing for high school students. :D

Phillygirl
06-15-2011, 09:28 AM
"What gets measured, gets taught,"

That's the problem, lady.

In part, yes. But in general I've found people disinterested in history. I had a minor in history in college, yet I don't think I learned anywhere close to say that I earned a minor in that subject area. You and I went to school well before the NCLB Act, yet I also felt that history was given short shrift back then. My school never made it past WWII in terms of history. How can that be possible in 12 years?

noonwitch
06-15-2011, 09:34 AM
In part, yes. But in general I've found people disinterested in history. I had a minor in history in college, yet I don't think I learned anywhere close to say that I earned a minor in that subject area. You and I went to school well before the NCLB Act, yet I also felt that history was given short shrift back then. My school never made it past WWII in terms of history. How can that be possible in 12 years?



My high school american history textbook ended with the assassinations of MLK and RFK, and the election of Nixon in 1968. We were using it in 1981.

My government teacher included current events fairly thoroughly in her class.

Arroyo_Doble
06-15-2011, 09:43 AM
In part, yes. But in general I've found people disinterested in history. I had a minor in history in college, yet I don't think I learned anywhere close to say that I earned a minor in that subject area. You and I went to school well before the NCLB Act, yet I also felt that history was given short shrift back then. My school never made it past WWII in terms of history. How can that be possible in 12 years?

What is taught is always going to be controversial. What I found slightly humourous when I read the article was the emphasis apparently put on Math and Reading. It reminded me of those who long ago argued that education should get back to teaching the (ironically named) three R's.

fettpett
06-15-2011, 10:40 AM
The problem with History is HOW it's taught, not what is taught

NJCardFan
06-15-2011, 10:46 AM
M*A*S*H should be mandatory viewing for high school students. :D

Only if you put the show in it's proper context. I loved that show and still do but it was very, very left wing in it's view.

ralph wiggum
06-15-2011, 10:55 AM
Only if you put the show in it's proper context. I loved that show and still do but it was very, very left wing in it's view.

I was going to add that disclaimer, but you get my point. I learned more about the Korean War from M*A*S*H than I did in school. I don't recall them talking about it much.

Maybe just have them watch the first couple seasons, which was before Alan Alda/Mike Farrell took the show WAY to the left.

Novaheart
06-15-2011, 11:14 AM
This is a sin. I blame not only the schools, but the parents. There's not a trip that I take with the kids that we don't talk about history in some fashion. I also have "atlas quizzes". One child has the atlas and chooses topic or states from the atlas to ask questions from...it might be naming the state capital, or guessing the state nicknames, etc.

Now, every time we go on a trip the kid in the front seat always reaches for the atlas and starts the game him/herself.

My parents were by no means rich, but the few vacations we took always involved some sort of history, whether it was in Boston, Williamsburg, D.C. or just a visit to our local Revolutionary War Battlefield.

I always try to talk about current events with the kids as well, to make certain they have at least some connection to what is going on in the world through politics, government, war, etc.

Multi-child families: I think many things are in play. When I was five I had two older siblings. My best friend had two older siblings. Life was a contest. We wanted to be as smart and knowledgeable as the older kids. We wanted to read. We wanted to learn. We thought we wanted to go to school , and had no idea how public school would try to kill that in us. I was fortunate, my mom saw it happening and put my middle sister and myself into private school Celeste liked public school. Public or private, we all wanted to be in the 1st track, we wanted to be the smartest, and then something happened. We figured out that it didn't take all that much to be better academically than most people.

Family dinner: When you eat dinner with your entire family, including extended family on many occasions, you hear adult conversation, proper grammar, and words that you don't know. My best friend and I would sit around on a rainy day in the summer, testing each other on the word lists in the back of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The lists were organized by theoretical grade level (I have no idea what the standard was) and we would push ourselves higher and higher. We practically memorized that book, and yet neither of us ever won a spelling bee. Spelling Bee was big business in our world; you got to go to the big one in Wilmington. And I did go to the Spelling Bee in Wilmington, because my middle sister did win. I still enjoyed it, and we went to the Franklin Museum which I adored (The Heart).

Family Vacations: I have never been to Disneyland or Disneyworld. I have never been to a theme park with my parents. Our Family vacations that I remember always included historical or educational stuff: DC, Arlington, ALexandria, Philadelphia, Williamsburg (premarriott) , Luray Caverns, Atlanta, etc... Even when we would come to where I now live, we would go to Ft Desoto and explore. Also, my parents never scheduled the vacation so tightly that we couldn't stop and read roadside markers or go to some historical site as long as it was in the budget. My poor dad endured many a lost detour because something wasn't really right off the "highway" (it's a generous name for two lane roads in the sixties).

TV- Our house had one TV until 1974. My parents didn't get to watch sports or silliness until we had all gotten drivers licenses.

Phillygirl
06-15-2011, 11:19 AM
Multi-child families: I think many things are in play. When I was five I had two older siblings. My best friend had two older siblings. Life was a contest. We wanted to be as smart and knowledgeable as the older kids. We wanted to read. We wanted to learn. We thought we wanted to go to school , and had no idea how public school would try to kill that in us. I was fortunate, my mom saw it happening and put my middle sister and myself into private school Celeste liked public school. Public or private, we all wanted to be in the 1st track, we wanted to be the smartest, and then something happened. We figured out that it didn't take all that much to be better academically than most people.

Family dinner: When you eat dinner with your entire family, including extended family on many occasions, you hear adult conversation, proper grammar, and words that you don't know. My best friend and I would sit around on a rainy day in the summer, testing each other on the word lists in the back of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The lists were organized by theoretical grade level (I have no idea what the standard was) and we would push ourselves higher and higher. We practically memorized that book, and yet neither of us ever won a spelling bee. Spelling Bee was big business in our world; you got to go to the big one in Wilmington. And I did go to the Spelling Bee in Wilmington, because my middle sister did win. I still enjoyed it, and we went to the Franklin Museum which I adored (The Heart).

Family Vacations: I have never been to Disneyland or Disneyworld. I have never been to a theme park with my parents. Our Family vacations that I remember always included historical or educational stuff: DC, Arlington, ALexandria, Philadelphia, Williamsburg (premarriott) , Luray Caverns, Atlanta, etc... Even when we would come to where I now live, we would go to Ft Desoto and explore. Also, my parents never scheduled the vacation so tightly that we couldn't stop and read roadside markers or go to some historical site as long as it was in the budget. My poor dad endured many a lost detour because something wasn't really right off the "highway" (it's a generous name for two lane roads in the sixties).

TV- Our house had one TV until 1974. My parents didn't get to watch sports or silliness until we had all gotten drivers licenses.

I was like that, but my siblings were not. My brother is scary smart, and could easily beat any of us at any game that required gray matter without trying...and he mastered the art of succeeding without trying through his scholastic career.

I never won the Spelling Bee either. I still recall getting a word wrong, but the judges couldn't hear me, so they asked me to repeat it. I spelled it correctly the second time, but informed them that that wasn't how I spelled it the first time. I still felt like a failure for never getting first place. When I had nothing good to read at my house I frequently picked up an Encyclopedia and just read through it. No wonder my brother and sister thought I was weird.

noonwitch
06-15-2011, 12:31 PM
I was going to add that disclaimer, but you get my point. I learned more about the Korean War from M*A*S*H than I did in school. I don't recall them talking about it much.

Maybe just have them watch the first couple seasons, which was before Alan Alda/Mike Farrell took the show WAY to the left.



That's kind of sad. I would watch M*A*S*H with my family, and my dad (who was in Korea) would complain that even though they set the show during the Korean War, it really was about Vietnam. But his criticism was educational for me.

Alan Alda ruined the show. He made every episode a moratorium on the morality of war. The series finale was such a bummer.

ralph wiggum
06-15-2011, 12:44 PM
That's kind of sad. I would watch M*A*S*H with my family, and my dad (who was in Korea) would complain that even though they set the show during the Korean War, it really was about Vietnam. But his criticism was educational for me.

Alan Alda ruined the show. He made every episode a moratorium on the morality of war. The series finale was such a bummer.

I just don't recall being taught a whole lot about Korea in school. I know my college history classes only went through WWII.

My parents were more of the Vietnam Era, but I knew that the movie and TV show were essentially about Vietnam. I recall reading that Robert Altman (or the writers) wanted to set it in Vietnam, but the studio execs made it be Korea.

Another fun little tid-bit, my folks went to see the movie in the theater the night before I was born.

Odysseus
06-15-2011, 01:08 PM
I was going to add that disclaimer, but you get my point. I learned more about the Korean War from M*A*S*H than I did in school. I don't recall them talking about it much.

Maybe just have them watch the first couple seasons, which was before Alan Alda/Mike Farrell took the show WAY to the left.
M*A*S*H was not especially accurate, even early on, and the stuff that could be learned was more than offset by the show's bias. They almost never showed an American combat arms officer in a positive light, and those people who thought that the war was worth fighting or that American was worth fighting for were constantly sneered at. In fact, patriotism or commitment to winning were only raised when there was an opportunity to ridicule them. If any ethnic group were treated the same way that the armed forces were on M*A*S*H, the protests would have shut down Hollywood for years.


What is taught is always going to be controversial. What I found slightly humourous when I read the article was the emphasis apparently put on Math and Reading. It reminded me of those who long ago argued that education should get back to teaching the (ironically named) three R's.

Part of the reason for the controversy is that schools provide a great opportunity for indoctrination. A stripped-down curriculum that emphasized basic skills and universally accepted factual instruction that provided a common reference for Americans would satisfy most parents, but would run afoul of those who seek to do more than educate.

Ultimately, the purpose of public schools ought to be producing people who are prepared to function in America, both as literate and numerate persons who have the basic skills to advance themselves, and as good citizens who understand the basics of our form of government, who are familiar with the Constitution and know the history of the nation, and to be proud of its accomplishments (it is government-run education, after all). Anyone who wants to teach their kids to hate their country or be ashamed of it can do so on their own dime.

noonwitch
06-15-2011, 01:40 PM
I just don't recall being taught a whole lot about Korea in school. I know my college history classes only went through WWII.

My parents were more of the Vietnam Era, but I knew that the movie and TV show were essentially about Vietnam. I recall reading that Robert Altman (or the writers) wanted to set it in Vietnam, but the studio execs made it be Korea.

Another fun little tid-bit, my folks went to see the movie in the theater the night before I was born.

My dad served in Korea right after the cease fire. He did sniper patrol along the border, and he participate in building infrastructure in rural areas of SK. Whenever we complained about our dinner, he would tell us we were lucky we weren't korean children, because they were so poor they ate worms!

I had a couple of teachers who were Korean War vets, but outside of my dad, I probably learned the most about it from a 5th grade teacher who had escaped from Warsaw Pact Hungary (he had been incarcerated in a German POW camp in WWII, and in a Soviet re-education camp). He was very enamored of the US military and studied all the wars in US history out of his own general interest and patriotism. He was very angry with how Vietnam ended, because he felt that we had abandoned POWs there.

Interesting guy, that 5th grade teacher.

NJCardFan
06-15-2011, 01:44 PM
Ultimately, the purpose of public schools ought to be producing people who are prepared to function in America, both as literate and numerate persons who have the basic skills to advance themselves, and as good citizens who understand the basics of our form of government, who are familiar with the Constitution and know the history of the nation, and to be proud of its accomplishments (it is government-run education, after all). Anyone who wants to teach their kids to hate their country or be ashamed of it can do so on their own dime.
This is how I was taught. The 3 r's. Especially in grammar school(1-6). We rarely discussed government or social issues in the classroom. I remember schoolwide themes like brotherhood and such but other than that, not much in the form of politics. The closest we would come was in both '72(2nd grade) and '76(6th grade) when we had mock elections.

Phillygirl
06-15-2011, 01:46 PM
This is how I was taught. The 3 r's. Especially in grammar school(1-6). We rarely discussed government or social issues in the classroom. I remember schoolwide themes like brotherhood and such but other than that, not much in the form of politics. The closest we would come was in both '72(2nd grade) and '76(6th grade) when we had mock elections.

We had current events in elementary school. Every week we had to bring in a news article from the paper and be prepared to talk about it. It was a good way to get kids to read the paper.

I remember having to do a current events project of some type. I followed Pope John Paul I's election and death.