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Post Death of a History Teaching Grant
Created by John Eipper on 11/13/17 12:37 PM

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Death of a History Teaching Grant (Brian Blodgett, USA, 11/13/17 12:37 pm)

Years ago, somewhere in the 2008-2010 period, I was on a committee to review applications for the Teaching American History Grant. This grant, under the Department of Education, no longer exists, ending in 2011 when funding for it was not included in the 2012 budget or any since. It seems that someone did not see a need for spending money on American History.

The Teaching American History Grant combined school districts across the United States with sponsoring colleges, universities, libraries, museums, and non-profit history or humanities organizations (Teaching American History, 2012). I was a part of a team of three that reviewed a small number of grant requests. Each request had to have a three-year plan on what activities they were going to do in conjunction with their partner institution. Some of the schools were going to send educators to Williamsburg one year, Washington DC another year, and perhaps a series of Civil War battlefields in their third year. In 2010, $115.3 million was allocated to 124 school districts across America. The concept of the grant was to enhance teacher understanding of US history through professional development, study trips, mentoring by historians, etc.

I recall when reviewing the grants that the teachers had to provide information on the educational level of the teachers that would be involved, how many terms they had in college of US history (surprisingly the number was very low, with most having zero to three credit hours of US history) which at the time shocked me that we were having teachers educating our students who did not have any background in US history (this was at the elementary and middle school levels).

And we wonder why less than half of the US citizens living in the 50 states know that Puerto Ricans are US citizens by birth (this according to USA Today), and so few of our citizens know very much about our own nation's history.


Department of Education. (2012). "Teaching American History". Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/programs/teachinghistory/index.html

USA Today (2017, Sept. 26). "Yes Puerto Rico is part of the United States." https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/09/26/yes-puerto-rico-part-united-states/703273001/

JE comments:  A hundred million or so is chicken feed when you look at the priceless benefits:  If we learn history we may not have to repeat it.  Why is it that education and culture are seen as "luxuries" for the chopping block?

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