Report Gives a Majority of States Poor Grades on History Standards





A majority of states received failing or near-failing grades on the quality of their standards for teaching history in K-12 schools, according to the latest reviewRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Washington-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

In “The State of State U.S. History Standards 2011,” the research and advocacy group says the average grade across all states was barely a D. The majority—28 states—received scores of D or lower and only one state, South Carolina, earned a straight-A score.

“If students are not going to get the history in K-12, they’re not going to get it at all,” said Sheldon M. Stern, a historian formerly with the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston and one of the study’s co-authors. “The irony in the whole thing is that it’s not very difficult to improve state standards.”

Since Fordham’s last such review in 2003, 45 states have changed their history standards. While some states improved, others worsened. Delaware, for instance, tumbled from a B to an F, while the District of Columbia jumped from an F to an A-minus.

Besides the District of Columbia, five states earned an A-minus rating: Alabama, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York. Oklahoma, Georgia, and Michigan are the three states that earned ratings in the B range. Because it has not implemented statewide social studies standards, Rhode Island was the only state that did not receive a grade...


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