ERIC Number: EJ702238
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar-1
Reference Count: 0
Past as Prologue: History vs. Social Studies
Social Education, v68 n2 p158 Mar 2004
Richard Paxton recently wrote an article for Phi Delta Kappan titled "Don't Know Much About History--Never Did," which gives an historical perspective to what has often been a very "presentist" debate. In the article, Paxton examines responses to poor student scores on formal and informal history surveys in 1917, 1943, 1976, 1987 and 2002. Paxton's research highlights the similarities between past and current debates. In a recent resurgence of the debate, Chester Finn, Jr., has stated, "Evidence kept accumulating that American kids were emerging from K-12 education and then, alas, from college with ridiculously little knowledge or understanding of their country's history, their planet's geography, their government's functioning, or the economy's essential workings." A volume published by Finn's Fordham Foundation blames "the field of social studies, 'itself'" implying that recent trends toward multiculturalism and global education as well as contemporary educational theories are responsible for the weakness in the study of history in U.S. schools. However, what is striking about the dates of the surveys highlighted in Paxton's article is the way popular concern about the efficacy of social studies education tends to surface during periods of national emergency.
Descriptors: Cultural Pluralism, Elementary Secondary Education, Educational Theories, Global Education, Social Studies, History, Scores, Student Evaluation, Educational Trends
National Science Teachers Association, 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Web site: http://www.nsta.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A