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Teaching of Traditional American History (II-C-4)
The Teaching American History program supports student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of American history. According to the most recent statistics from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in U.S. history, only 17 percent of fourth-graders, 14 percent of eighth-graders, and 11 percent of 12th-graders scored proficient on the assessment; further, more than half of 12th graders did not reach the basic level. The Teaching American History program helps increase students' knowledge of history by providing funds to school districts to design, implement and demonstrate effective, research-based professional development programs. The program is predicated on the idea that students who know and appreciate American history will be well-prepared to understand and exercise their civic rights and responsibilities.
How It Works
This is a direct federal-to-local discretionary grant program that funds districts, in partnership with institutions with extensive content expertise in American history, to implement high-quality programs that enhance teachers' knowledge, understanding and appreciation of American history. Partnerships should develop and carry out programs that promote the teaching of American history as an academic subject separate from social studies.
To be eligible, districts must partner with one or more of the following groups: an institution of higher education, a nonprofit history or humanities organization, a library, or a museum. At least one group must have content expertise in American history. Funds should be used to: (1) carry out activities that promote the teaching of American history as an academic subject separate from social studies, and (2) develop, implement and strengthen programs that improve the quality of instruction and the quality of professional development and teacher education activities with respect to American history.
How It Achieves Quality
Districts, working in partnership with groups that have content expertise in history, provide teachers with intensive content training in American history, as well as effective teaching strategies. Through these training activities, teachers gain a stronger understanding of the significant issues, episodes, individuals, and turning points in the history of the United States.
How Quality Is Measured
Grantees must submit annual evaluations to the U.S. Department of Education that demonstrate how their project improves the quality of instruction in American history.