David McCullough: Lauds Illinois State U’s emphasis on history

Historians in the News

One of America’s best-known historians praised Illinois State University on Thursday for requiring that future history teachers actually study history.

“Almost no other institution is doing this,” David McCullough told more than 1,000 people gathered Thursday for ISU’s Founders Day convocation in Braden Auditorium.

The university, which kicked off a yearlong celebration of its 150th anniversary, boasts more alumni teaching in classrooms than any other U.S. college or university.

He bemoaned a state of education where eight of every 10 history teachers in America earn teaching degrees that don’t require them to study college-level history. At ISU, future educators must also declare a major subject in addition to completing a teaching sequence.

He said without that background, America’s history teachers rely too much on textbooks he described as dreary, dumbed-down, politically correct mush.

“Maybe all the academic experts ought to come here to see what you are doing,” he said to the ISU crowd’s applause.

“Teach teachers to love what they teach” and they’ll share that history by sharing their enthusiasm, he said....
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