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!

CRT and History Teaching

As state legislatures across the nation explore banning critical race theory from k-12 classrooms, it can be easy to turn away from the teaching of American history. After all, our nation’s history can be offensive to some.

In truth, American history is proud and dark, complex and contradictory, patriotic and problematic. In these times, that is all the more reason what we must embrace the teaching of history and ensure all understand both what has happened in our past and why.

I explore this important issue on the latest episode of Soul of Education over at the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/how-do-you-teach-american-history-without-offending-anyone/.

Teaching in a Post-Insurrection World

Following the 2020 election and the riot on Capitol Hill on January 6, is it prudent to teach current events in today’s social studies classes? Or is it safer to stay away from the the realities of modern history?

Today, I spent nearly an hour with Larry Jacobs and the American Consortium for Equity in Education, discussing this and other topics related to improving the teaching and learning of American history.

Give it a listen here: https://ace-ed.org/teaching-history-and-civics-in-a-post-insurrection-world/

Happy listening!

We Don’t Need More Civic Ed

“But if we are going to learn – really learn – from recent civic activism and involvement, it is that civic education has spotlighted the glaring educational shortcomings that ensure that same education has lasting, meaningful impact in our communities. It has shown us the need to more deeply invest in the knowledge necessary to transform such action into long-term community action.”

Over at Project Forever Free, where I explore how the events of the last year demonstrate we don’t need additional civic education in the schools. Instead, we need history, SEL, literature, and liberal studies so that civic learning has real meaning.

Teaching Trump

The last few weeks of the Trump Administration will likely be how President Trump is remembered and how his legacy is taught in classrooms decades for now. Or so I opine on the final episode of the TrumpEd show on the BAM Radio Network.

Give it a listen over at: https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/opinion-teaching-the-legacy-of-the-trump-administration-its-complicated/

Learning from the 1776 Commission

As one of his first orders of business, President Joe Biden officially disbanded the 1776 Commission established by Donald Trump last year, killing the group days after it released its report on the founding of the United States of America.

Over at The 74 Million, dear ol’ Eduflack has an essay about the Commission’s report and what we can, and should, learn from it.

As I write:

“The American record — whether it be measured by the 402 years since 1619 or the 245 years since 1776 — is hopeful and ugly, inspiring and debilitating, a shining beacon and an unshakable dark cloud. More simply, American history is incredibly messy and contradictory; how we teach it even more so.”

The full piece is worth a read. You can find it here: https://www.the74million.org/article/riccards-the-1776-report-is-a-political-document-not-a-curriculum-but-it-has-something-to-teach-us/

Teaching The Capitol Riot

I was honored to be a part of this important panel discussion on the BAM Radio Network, as we discussed how educators can, should, must discuss the Capitol riot in their classrooms.

Dear ol’ Eduflack gets that many parents want to keep politics out of the classroom. And I understand that many teachers worry their administrators won’t have their backs on such controversial issues. But our kids don’t live in a bubble. They will learn of such ugly issues, whether we teach them or not.

Case in point. On the day of the siege, my 13-year-old daughter came into my office late in the afternoon, wanting me to explain what was happening. When I asked how she knew, she simply said the issue was blowing up her TikTok feed. Our kids know.

So give it a listen here. It’ll be worth the time — https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/special-report-eight-educators-share-thoughts-on-discussing-sedition-in-the-classroom/

It Is Time for an American History Ed Czar

“Look at 2020 to understand how important a history education czar is to improving K-12 and post-secondary education.

“We’ve witnessed history happening before our eyes, from how the world addressed a global health pandemic to how our nation addressed the call of Black Lives Matter. We’ve seen the first woman and woman of color elected to the second-highest office. And we’ve watched this wondering that no matter how significant, how history-making, how will we effectively teach about 2020 in the future?”

From dear ol’ Eduflack’s latest in the Stamford (CT) Advocate, calling for the Biden Administration to establish an American history education czar.

History Matters, We Think

“A large majority (75%) agree that a strong understanding of U.S. history is needed for successful citizenship, yet the same survey finds that only 43% say today’s high school graduates possess this necessary knowledge of national history.

“Furthermore, Americans place English, math and science higher than history when asked to rank how important they feel each academic subject is for today’s high school students to be successful in college or in their career. English topped the rankings at 71%; history garnered 57% of the very important vote; only foreign language came in lower than history.”

From a Patch article reporting on the latest survey from dear ol’ Eduflack’s Driving Force Institute. The full article can be found here – https://patch.com/district-columbia/washingtondc/do-high-school-students-know-what-electoral-college-does-nodx