If you follow national trends in education, you probably know that a lot of kids don’t know much about history.
A report on MS-NBC this June revealed that only 20 percent of all
eighth-graders nationally were considered to be proficient or better at
American history. Nationally, only 9 percent of all fourth-graders could
identify a picture of President Lincoln. As trends in education go,
it’s not an encouraging one.
Although it doesn’t usually grab the headlines the way that math,
science and literacy do, history is an important part of education. Like
all good literature, history tells us how we as a people came to be
where we are now, and it does this by making reading something other
than a mindless function.
Who can read Frederick Douglass’ autobiography without feeling
enraged over what he suffered as a slave? Who can study the Caesars
without getting wrapped up in the layers of court intrigue? History
isn’t just the remote past; taught right, it’s as living as the present.
While we can’t claim to have the answer for the rest of our nation,
we do think that we’ve found a resource that’s going to be an excellent
fit for Greater Brunswick Charter School. If you have a child in at
least third grade this year, you’re going to like what we’ve done with
our social studies program.
This summer, the school bought the History Alive curriculum.
Published by TCI, History Alive is a curriculum that will lead our
students across America’s past, along the heights of ancient
civilizations, and through the medieval world. And because history isn’t
just a series of important dates .and famous people, we love it that
History Alive invites students to dig deeper.
As students study the Industrial Revolution, they can learn how
industrialization led to an increase in productivity and profits – but
they’ll also learn about the physical demands of working in cotton
mills, and the conflict between the owners of cotton mills and their
Through lessons like this one, we’ll encourage your children discover
history through the lives of the people who were there, and to discover
how history grew out of the interaction of these different viewpoints.
As they look at the issues that defined an era, they’ll be asked to
evaluate issue and to render their own judgments.
We’re not a school that is dependent upon textbooks to the exclusion of other resources. We never will be.
But there’s no denying that a well-written and well-designed textbook
can do a lot to enrich a class, with succinct, to-the-point writing and
generous use of photographs to connect the writing with the reality.
In the past few years, we’ve improved our math program with the
Investigations curriculum, and we’ve seen a lot of progress with the
Writers Workshop program. And now we’ve added social studies to the
programs we’ve improved. I think you’ll like what you see.
History will never be the same again.