Jack writes on Fordham's findings that State Boards of Education have lost touch with the past... and reality:
While teachers, parents, and even students often find themselves taking the blame for the nation's failings on the education front, the Fordham Institute released the findings today of a review that scolds state boards of education for their shortcomings.
Targeted at evaluating History education standards in all fifty states, the Fordham analysis conducted by professional historians concluded that 28 states deserve a grade of 'D' or 'F' in the content of their K-12 history curricula. Only one state, South Carolina – with its critical analysis of its controversial past and its staunch emphasis on the histories of communities of color – received an 'A'. Notably, Illinois and Texas' history standards mustered 'D's', with the evaluators noting the bland disjointedness of the former and the politicized inaccuracies of the latter. Who knew Abe Lincoln fought at the Alamo?!
These standards, set by state boards of education, are the bread and butter of history instruction in K-12 education. While much attention has been given to student performance on standardized examinations and the quality of teaching that such results ostensibly demonstrate, Fordham's findings seriously call into question the design and accuracy of the very material being taught in schools.
With the help of a board of scientists, Fordham has also conducted an evaluation of Science standards in all fifty states with similarly disconcerting results. History and Science are particularly important for the critical thinking skills that they can cultivate and the objective knowledge about our society that they can cultivate. It seems that with the discussion heating up over the common core standards initiative, it's also essential to take a serious look a what those standards are and how they can be brought into step with reality.