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  1. #1 Students Stumble Again on the Basics of History 
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    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.
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    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillygirl View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
    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.
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    "What gets measured, gets taught,"
    That's the problem, lady.
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    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
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph wiggum View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph wiggum View Post
    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.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arroyo_Doble View Post
    "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?
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