By Matt Drwenski and Dave Eaton
In late May, College Board decided to completely reshape its AP World History (APWH) course. Announced with little fanfare, the proposed revisions halve the historical content, eliminating everything prior to 1450 CE (formerly Periods 1-3) while leaving Periods 4-6 intact. These earlier periods are relegated to a pre-AP World History and Geography course. Since this expensive pre-AP course will not be tested, students cannot receive college credit for it, and even those on the Test Development Committee acknowledge it is unlikely to be popular.
By Darcy R. Fryer
Journalists can’t stop talking about Finnish education. Finland has won kudos both for its consistently strong performance on the PISA—an international survey that evaluates education systems worldwide—and for its success in promoting broad equality of opportunity, a healthy work-life balance, and a high degree of autonomy by highly educated teachers. My attention was riveted, but soon frustrated, because so much of what has been written about Finnish education focuses on the elementary years, and especially on math.
By Steven Mintz
Nothing concentrates the mind, Samuel Johnson quipped in 1777, more than the prospect of a hanging. And nothing focuses the minds of instructors of history survey courses quite like flagging enrollments, a loss of majors, and student disengagement.
Tomorrow, many of my students will participate in what may be the largest single instance of high school activism in a generation. At 10 a.m. on March 14 they will participate in the #ENOUGH National School Walkout to protest Congress’s lack of action on gun violence. My class is currently in the midst of a unit on the Long Civil Rights Movement. Collectively, in class, my students and I have been exploring the ways that minority communities experienced, protested, and changed structures of racial oppression across the country.
By Alexandria Ruble, Scott Harrison, Jane Freeland, Adam Blackler, and Julie Ault
“Here’s a scenario,” I said to students in my course on the Holocaust. “Imagine that right now, the North Carolina state government issues an order that you must leave the state if you or your parents are not from here. How many of you are from North Carolina?” Most students in the class raised their hands. Then, I asked, “How many of you have parents from North Carolina?” Fewer students raised their hands.
Over the past year, the nationwide decline of history majors and enrollments has become one of the AHA’s foremost concerns. Now, surprising news has arrived from Yale University: after a two-decade slip in popularity, history is the top declared major among its Class of 2019.
By Lee White
In December, President Obama signed into law a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The “Every Student Succeeds Act” restored funding for K–12 history and civics education that was eliminated five years ago. Unfortunately, when the president’s budget request was released on February 9 it did not include appropriations for the major new program source of funding for history and civics.
The AHA Council just approved a statement regarding best practices in dual enrollment/concurrent enrollment (DE/CE) courses that was drafted by the Teaching Division.