Teachers Reflect on the Apathy, Controversy They Face Explaining the Country’s Founding in New Book from Driving Force Institute

FLORENCE, S.C., Oct. 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — At a time when teaching about America is facing unprecedented challenges, history teachers from across the United States are sharing their unique ideas as well as frustrations about how to educate students about the country’s founding and key moments.

Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement (DFI) has released “Why History Matters: American History Teachers Speak Out,” comprised of essays by K–12 educators, college faculty, and history curriculum leaders. In light of dismissal data that show a severe lack of American history knowledge among students and adults, DFI believes that a deep connection is fundamental to effective learning. The book highlights how educators are finding new ways to connect the teaching of American history to the interests and passions of today’s students.

Dr. Brian Davis in Memphis writes “I teach in a state that has very specific content standards, and we will not be changing them any time soon,” while Jeni Boulanger in Phelan, Calif., writes that her state “used to test history in eighth grade, it has since been dropped while assessments for English, math, and science — the STEM subjects — remain.”

Patrick Riccards, DFI’s CEO, says, “Regardless of what American history is taught, which is what people are debating now, we need to discuss better ways to engage students in learning American history. Engagement is critical to inspiring learning. This book showcases stories and insights from American history teachers — many award-winning — from states across the nation about how to engage students in learning American history and why it’s important that they learn, understand and, appreciate it.”

This book, and DFI’s Why History Matters initiative, were created in honor of Walter W. Buckley, Jr., and inspired by his unwavering commitment to improving the teaching and learning of American history.

America’s Story: Unknown and Unappreciated

The book follows DFI’s public opinion survey that found fewer than four in 10 Americans could pass the practice test used for the U.S. citizenship exam. Passage rates were even lower for women and for people of color. And for those under the age of 50, only one in four could demonstrate a basic understanding of historical facts.

Furthermore, the Nation’s Report Card reported the U.S. history scores among the nation’s eighth graders are the lowest ever recorded since the assessment began in 1994. Civics scores also experienced their first-ever drop.

The authors are:

  • Kelly Beckett (KY)
  • Jeni Boulanger (CA)
  • Melissa Collins (TN)
  • Robert Coven (NC)
  • Brian Davis (TN)
  • Joseph Dwyer III (NJ)
  • Kelsie Brook Eckert (NH)
  • Kim Eggborn (MD)
  • Robert Fenster (NJ)
  • Jacklyn Foster (AL)
  • Gregory J.K. García, Jr. (OR)
  • William Kibler (AZ)
  • Richard Lavoie (MA)
  • Kyung Ah Lee (GA)
  • Thomas Leighty (DE)
  • Ryan Mueller (UT)
  • Jamie Naragon (OH)
  • Kimberly Wratney Perez (NC)
  • Katherine Perrotta (GA)
  • Lisa Rauschart (DC)
  • Manuela Bandres Tari (CO)
  • Emily Busey-Templeton (OK)
  • Kate Van Haren (WI)

Media Contact:
Adam Shapiro
[email protected]
202-427-3603

SOURCE Driving Force Institute

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/teachers-reflect-on-the-apathy-controversy-they-face-explaining-the-countrys-founding-in-new-book-from-driving-force-institute-301944412.html

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