I am pleased that CNN addresses history education in its article, “Subject Matters: Why students fall behind on history.” Raising issues that have concerned the AHA Teaching Division, the article mentions the role of “No Child Left Behind” in the decline of time that teachers spend on history in the classroom. It also briefly discusses one of the most important issues in the teaching of history: the students’ lack of a historical context for the discrete pieces of information they learn.
This week we note an upcoming registration deadline for the NHA Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day, new errors found in a Virginia history textbook, history teaching in Britian, and advice for those interviewing for jobs at the annual meeting. We also link to an article on U.S. population migration over the past century, thoughts on citing e-books, some belated holiday history, and a look at the brutality of Medieval warfare.
- 2011 Annual Meeting & Humanities Advocacy Day
Tomorrow is the last day to receive the discounted registration price for the National Humanities Alliance Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day.
POV, which stands for point-of-view, is “TV’s longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films.” Each year, POV presents “14-16 of the best, boldest & most innovative” documentaries on PBS. One of the films that premiered this year is The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, which has won the AHA’s 2010 John O’Connor film award.
The POV web site has an entire section, named “For Educators,” that is devoted to how teachers can use these films and related lesson plans in the classroom.
In the news this week, Google is assisting in making the Dead Sea Scrolls available online in the near future, a Virginia textbook has been criticized for misrepresenting the numbers of black Confederate soldiers, and for those in the D.C. area, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society is hosting book signings today and next week. We came across a number of articles on scholarly writing this week. Check out the Writing History site (and submit your writing), a look at citations (and the lack of them) in popular history books, and two perspectives on Open Access Week.
The National Archives unveiled a sleek new web site last week called Doc Teach. The site, which we noted in our most recent What We’re Reading post, offers teachers access to over 3,000 primary sources along with tools to use them in the classroom.
The sources on the site are organized into 8 historical eras:
- Revolution and the New Nation (1754–1820s)
- Expansion and Reform (1801–61)
- Civil War and Reconstruction(1850–77)
- The Development of the Industrial United States (1870–1900)
- The Emergence of Modern America (1890–1930)
- The Great Depression and World War II (1929–45)
- Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s)
- Contemporary United States (1968 to the present)
You can also browse by primary source type (audio/video, charts/graphs/data, image, map, or written document) or check out a collection of featured documents.
On behalf of the Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW), the AHA invites all historians and other faculty employed in the contingent academic workforce in U.S. colleges and universities to participate in a survey about course assignments, salaries, benefits, and general working conditions. We invite participation from all instructional and research staff members employed off the tenure track, including faculty members employed either full- or part-time, graduate students remunerated as teaching assistants or employed in other roles, and researchers and post-doctoral fellows.
Constitution Day is exactly one month away, and commemorates the day (September 17, 1787) the U.S. Constitution was signed. To help educators prepare for this day next month, we’ve put together links to a number of helpful resources.
New Essays on American Constitutional History
The AHA has a new publication series, in association with the Institute for Constitutional Studies, of New Essays on American Constitutional History. The current pamphlets in this series are well suited for use on Constitution Day, and include:
- The War Power: Original and Contemporary , by Louis Fisher
The original conception of “war powers,” as defined in the Constitution by the new American republic, was a power not vested in the U.S.
The Department of Education is the primary source of information, particularly through their occasional analyses of the transcripts of graduating high school seniors. The most recent analysis* (PDF) shows history solidly lodged in the curriculum. U.S. history courses are fairly ubiquitous (taken by 94 percent of the high school graduates in 2005), while world history grew significantly over the past 20 years (from 60.1 percent of the graduates in 1990 to 76.5 percent among those exiting in 2005).