Washington Examiner: Americans Don’t Know Ike

Over at the Washington Examiner, Paul Bedard reports on the latest National research from the Driving Force Institute, focusing on how the average American doesn’t know Dwight Eisenhower was a general during World War II. Of course, today is Ike’s birthday.

The full article can be found here: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/washington-secrets/on-ikes-birthday-many-are-clueless-about-general-president

Happy reading!

DFI: Most Americans Still Can’t Pass U.S. Citizenship Test

Oct. 6, 2021 — During a time that saw an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the percentage of Americans who could pass the U.S. Citizenship Test is only 42%, but that still marks an increase of six points since advocates initially conducted the survey three years ago. The Driving Force Institute (DFI) says the fact that nearly 6 in 10 Americans could not pass a citizenship test highlights the urgent need for new approaches to teaching and learning American history. 

Only 17% know that the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787; a mere 27% correctly understand that Benjamin Franklin was a U.S. diplomat (36% thought he invented the lightbulb); and less than half (43%) know that Woodrow Wilson was president during World War I. 

The survey uses the same questions that those who apply for citizenship must answer; improved responses were seen in a number of areas. For instance, the percentage of Americans who know the United States fought Japan, Germany, and Italy in World War II has gone from 50% to 55% since 2018. 

The percentage of Americans who know that nine Justices serve on the U.S. Supreme Court increased from 43% to 51%.

People applying for citizenship must correctly answer 12 out of 20 questions on the test. Even though most survey takers failed the test, 63% said the test’s difficulty was “about right.” 

The DFI survey, conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, has a margin of error of ±3.1 with a random sample of 1,000 American citizens.

Patrick Riccards, founder and chief executive officer of DFI, says, “We launched our initiative to make American history content interesting and relevant for today’s learners, especially females and people of color. The latest survey shows we’re not moving fast enough. Americans are rightfully proud of their country, but they risk losing what makes it special if more of us don’t understand and appreciate our history.” 

DFI’s UNTOLD series on YouTube is the home for short formvideos; it includes sections highlighting Black, Latino, and women’s history; DFI also makes related materials available to educators, whether in a traditional classroom, virtual or hybrid setting, including a comprehensive professional development series created in partnership with the Kentucky Valley Education Collective

Makematic and DoGoodery create and distribute the videos. DFI is also collaborating with the American Battlefield Trust, New York Historical Society, iCivics, Smithsonian, and others on the creation of specific video series for high school students. 

DFI uses an integrated set of efforts designed to get at the three legs of the history instruction stool:

Support instruction for current K–12 American history teachers, designed to both improve their own understanding of American history and empower them to better connect with their students and make history an exciting and worthwhile pursuit of study. As an incentive, teachers who successfully participate in DFI receive micro-credentials and badges that signify they are part of a national network committed to improving American history instruction.

Curriculum design for both traditional classrooms and out-of-school-time environments, 

changing the very way American history is taught in communities across the nation; and

Direct-to-consumer engagement, providing interesting and dynamic learning opportunities to students (and by extension,their families) through a digital platform.

To meet these needs, DFI launched a pilot project that recruitssmall teams of educators in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. This project helps shape the development of the website content, ensuring the most effective utilization possible.

Ultimately, DFI will seek to develop an online professional development platform, a series of “historians’ toolkits,” models for a “flipped” American history curriculum, and an archive of games and simulations for educators to use with students.

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MEDIA CONTACT: 

Stacey Finkel

Stacey.Finkel@ASPR.bz

703-304-1377

Supporting First-Gen College Students

Over at Education Talk Radio, dear ol’ Eduflack recently had the opportunity to join Coker University President Natalie J. Harder to discuss first-generation college goers and how institutions are using programs such as federal TRIO to ensure student success.

Give it a listen here – https://www.blogtalkradio.com/edutalk/2021/09/09/coker-university–meeting-the-needs-of-first-generation-college-students

Sometimes, It is Important to “Quit”

“No, the issue lies squarely with the adults in the room and their priorities. The adults who chose to be silent rather than confront an ugly and difficult issue. The adults who just want to move on. The adults who are more offended that their dirty laundry was aired on public social media. And the adults who appear to tolerate a little racism as long as it means winning.”

Dear ol’ Eduflack, writing on Medium about why my family had to quit my daughter’s cheer gym over the use of the N word. You can read the full piece here – https://link.medium.com/lFFTE4qxujb

Recovery for the Whole Child

As states continue to explore the best ways to spend their school recovery dollars from the Biden Administration, many are thinking small and using the one-time infusion to fill holes that will just appear again.

Others are looking to think big. Over in California, policy makers are looking to make a huge investment into the mental health and social/emotional well being of their learners.

Over on Soul of Education on the BAM! Radio Network, I explore the story here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/a-model-for-putting-student-mental-health-and-well-being-first-and-everything-else-second/

Give it a listen!

Wait, We Aren’t Connected?

Based on learning over the past 18 months, one would assume that every household has high-speed internet and every learner has the devices to take advantage of it. But a recent report shows that are digital utopia is the furthest thing from the truth.

Over on the BAM! Radio Network, I sit down with Noggin’s Michael Levine to discuss the realities of connectivity in the United States and what we can and should be doing to address the very real problem.

Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/pipes-and-people-what-the-under-connected-will-need-for-learning-post-pandemic/

Librarians Love Us!

Time for a little not-so-humble brag. As readers know, dear ol’ Eduflack is incredibly proud of my work in transforming the teaching and Learning of American history. I believe this work is essential to both a stronger education snd a stronger society. It’s why I have spent so much time developing the Untold History initiative. And it’s why I launched the Driving Force Institute.

This week, the American Association of School Librarians announced its list of Top Digital Tools. This is an important list, particularly when we consider how just about anyone who is anyone in education was providing digital tools during the last Covid school year.

And Untold History was on that list! I am incredibly proud of what Makematic and I have been able to do here. And I am beyond honored that we have been able to partner with organizations such as the New York Historical Society, American Battlefield Trust, Kentucky Valley Educational Collective, iCivics, and many others to create these important digital tools.

Thank you to all of those who have made this work possible. We are having real impact as we dare mighty things.

Untold History, Right from the Student Lens

If the past few years (or even just months) have taught us anything, it is how important it is that we all know our history … and how boring and irrelevant history education can be for high school students today.

The Driving Force Institute launched its Untold History initiative to change that narrative. Untold has focused on making history interesting and relevant for today’s learners, telling the stories of those events, people, places, and artifacts that are essential, but often overlooked.

To supplement this work, this week we launch the Untold Pitch Competition. Over the past six months, we have been reaching out to students, asking them to develop their own videos on the moments in history that mean the most to them. Those submissions are now in, and we are sharing the finalists … seeking your vote for some of the top videos.

Check out the full competition here – https://makematic.com/blog/the-untold-pitch-competition/

Watch the videos! Share the Pitch! Cast your vote!