Alabama History Teaching Standards Overdue Revisions Delayed | Alabama News

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (AP) – As much of the nation debates what and how to teach history, the state of Alabama has delayed revising its classroom standards for teaching history for years after being both praised and criticized by an educational thinker. Tank.

Officials postponed an update to the state’s social science curriculum from five to six years this fall, citing a positive review by the Fordham Institute, an ideologically conservative educational group that has come to be known for its audits of the History of the State and Civic Norms, al. com reported.

A notice regarding the delay came in November, a month after Alabama officials voted to ban so-called Critical Race Theory from K-12 schools, a move that has left some students and teachers concerned. how to discuss race and racism in class.

A review published by the Fordham Institute called Alabama’s standards for teaching U.S. civics and history “exemplary,” citing the emphasis on facts and “insight. rigorous and thorough ”of the nation’s past.

But the organization also noted some gaps in the teaching of Alabama history, saying the coverage of the Fourteenth Amendment is insufficient and its standard for explaining Alabama’s secession from the Union “is unbalanced. “.

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“There is a somewhat ambiguous reference to ‘state rights’ in the grade five standard on the causes of civil war, which should either be deleted or more clearly subordinated to ‘the issue of slavery’ to avoid any misinterpretation, “the report says. declared. “And the decision to consolidate the many changes that have occurred in the seven decades of United States history” since World War II “is unfortunate.”

A committee met once in February to discuss revisions to Alabama’s social studies curriculum, which has not changed since 2010. But in September, State Superintendent Eric Mackey told members that all future meetings had been “postponed until further notice”.

“As you may be aware, our current standards have been recognized for their excellence, including the most recent recognition by the Fordham Institute as one of five states to be ranked as exemplary in both civic education and US history, ”Mackey wrote in a September memo. “As important as Social Studies is, with a number of important topics to cover over the next few years, we believe the next steps include updating and aligning our Vocational and Technical Education (CTE), arts and sciences. We are not discouraged in our commitment to high quality social studies at all levels. “

A Fordham Institute senior researcher disagreed with the delay.

“A lot could happen in two decades,” said David Griffith, a senior research and policy associate who led the recent review from the Institute for Social Studies Standards. “According to the report, Alabama’s history standards for the post-1970 era are already a bit slim, so it’s worrying that the problem may get worse before it gets better.”

The Alabama State Department of Education does not mandate the teaching of a particular curriculum. Rather, the agency adopts standards about the things students are expected to know and be able to do at certain levels. Typically, these standards are updated every five to ten years, but the recent delay results in an even longer waiting period for the social studies standards, which were due to be revised this year.

Griffith, who led the Fordham review, said the institute typically recommends states review their standards every 10 years. Many states are behind schedule, he said, but to his knowledge, Alabama is the first to cite the strength of its current standards as a reason to delay revisions. The decision that could anchor them in future reviews, Griffith said.

“We are definitely penalizing states that have failed to factor significant historical developments into their standards, and the post-2010 era has certainly seen its fair share of history,” he said.

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