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ERIC Number: EJ824458
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Feb
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
The Virginia History Standards and the Cold War
Altschuler, Glenn C.; Rauchway, Eric
History Teacher, v35 n2 p225-228 Feb 2002
President George W. Bush's approach to education policy has earned him cautious plaudits from otherwise hostile critics, who see much to admire in the implementation of standards for education. However useful such standards for testing students' technical skills like arithmetic and reading, they create problems for less-standardized processes like thinking about history. Some states, including Virginia, have already instituted "Standards of Learning" (SOLs) to lend coherence to history teaching throughout the state. Promoted six years ago by Governor George Allen as part of a "back to basics" reform of Virginia's public schools, SOLs set forth the "essential knowledge" students should know to pass standardized tests in the eighth grade, and are distributed to every teacher. The "essential knowledge" in the SOLs provides a basis for testing students' understanding of history. According to the Virginia Board of Education, the SOLs put history at "the integrative core of the curriculum" so that students can grapple with "fundamental questions of truth, justice, and personal responsibility." However, the SOLs now in use for eighth-grade United States history provide few, if any, occasions for middle-schoolers to understand the role of the United States in the complicated moral universe of the Cold War, which the Virginia program treats with nostalgic enthusiasm. In this article, the authors discuss the Virginia history standards and Virginia's treatment of the Cold War, which provides ample warning about the perils of such state standardization.
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia