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The State of State World History Standards 2006

The State of State World History Standards 2006

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Published by Sherritty
This first-ever thorough report reviews academic standards in world history in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine whether we are setting the solid, challenging expectations for our schools and children that will equip the next generation with the skills and knowledge it will need. The report, written by renowned historian Walter Russell Mead, finds that only twelve states earned honors grades of A or B on this appraisal, while 33 received Ds or Fs. This poor result is especially frustrating in light of a recent National Geographic study which shows students demonstrate little interest in learning about the world, though a small but growing number are taking state and national exams in the subject. California, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia developed exceptional standards, worthy of emulation, but most states stumbled. This report provides state rankings, scores, grades, and national averages. [Foreword by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Martin A. Davis, Jr.]
This first-ever thorough report reviews academic standards in world history in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine whether we are setting the solid, challenging expectations for our schools and children that will equip the next generation with the skills and knowledge it will need. The report, written by renowned historian Walter Russell Mead, finds that only twelve states earned honors grades of A or B on this appraisal, while 33 received Ds or Fs. This poor result is especially frustrating in light of a recent National Geographic study which shows students demonstrate little interest in learning about the world, though a small but growing number are taking state and national exams in the subject. California, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia developed exceptional standards, worthy of emulation, but most states stumbled. This report provides state rankings, scores, grades, and national averages. [Foreword by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Martin A. Davis, Jr.]

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Published by: Sherritty on Jul 23, 2008
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01/09/2013

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STANDARDS WEBSITE:

http://www.isbe.net/ils/

social_science/standards.htm

YEAR STANDARDS APPROVED:

2004

SCORING BREAKDOWN

Curriculum:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Instructional:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Total:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

GRADE:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D

Illinois says that the importance ofsocial studies is to

“help people develop the ability to make informed and

reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens ofa

culturally diverse,democratic society in an interdepend-

ent world.”The study ofhistory,the document goes on

to say,should enable students to “understand events,

trends,individuals and movements shaping the history

ofIllinois,the United States and other nations,”stressing

that “students who can examine and analyze the events

ofthe past have a powerful tool for understanding the

events oftoday and the future ...[and] can better define

their own roles as participating citizens.”These state-

ments point teachers and students in the right direction.

Unfortunately,the standards won’t get them there.

World history is divided into eleven sections:Prehistory to

2000 B.C.E.,early civilizations,nonwestern empires and

tropical civilizations,the rise ofpastoral peoples,classical

civilizations,fragmentation and interaction ofcivilizations,

centralization ofpower in different regions,the early mod-

ern world,global unrest,change and revolution,and global

encounters and imperialism and their effects on the twen-

tieth century.It’s a good categorization,but the categories

must be backed up with historical detail.They are not.

Students begin world history in junior high school

when they study classical civilization.Greece and Rome

share the curriculum,surprisingly and encouragingly,

with the Han dynasty and the Gupta empire.Students

are asked to “describe the origins ofWestern political

ideas and institutions”(e.g.,Greek democracy,Roman

republic,Magna Carta and common law,the

Enlightenment).But the good start isn’t followed up.

The standards cover the entire political history ofthe

world in halfa page,much ofit vague and unhelpful

(e.g.,“Analyze world wide consequences ofisolated

political events,including the events triggering the

Napoleonic Wars and World Wars I and II.”) Worse,

much ofthe actual political content ofhistory is over-

looked or treated superficially.

To its credit,Illinois emphasizes issues that are not dis-

cussed in other standards.For example,the Land of

Lincoln is eager to impart the economic dimension of

world history.Students are asked to “describe major eco-

nomic trends from 1000 to 1500 C.E.including long dis-

tance trade,banking,specialization oflabor,commercial-

ization,urbanization and technological and scientific

progress.”This focus is all too uncommon in most states’

world history standards.But this doesn’t make up for the

significant historical details omitted from the standards.

These standards are by no means the worst ofthe worst,

and in places they’re good.But unless they’re updated

with significant amounts ofhistorical detail,the stan-

dards will keep Illinois students in the dark about the

broader world around them.

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