History classes in New York State public high schools may become an endangered species. The Board of Regents thinks it’s just peachy to suggest that many students should be able to graduate by passing just one of the two History exams (Global History and Geography, and United State History and Government). And not only that, but Chancellor Regent Merryl Tisch is suggesting that students only need to be tested in Global History on events after the year 1750. Hmm, how’d they arrive at this year and not, say 1492, or 1066…or the year 1?

Is this supposed to get students ready for college-level work? Do the knuckle-headed Regents think they are doing anyone any favors by disparaging and expunging history topics? Did history just go “poof” and find itself created in 1750? Students will be even more ignorant, social studies teachers (as well as teachers in other subject areas such as Language Arts and Science) will find their work even more difficult, and no, this will NOT help our kids be smarter and more effective. Admit it, our students will be ever more clueless about the workings of society, and critical thinking skills (which you know the educrats like to jabber on about) will suffer. And when critical thinking skills suffer, society really does suffer in general.

Do Chancellor Tisch and her merry band of Regents really believe that most kids hate history and find it a burden to learn? Has she any awareness of all those popular Young Adult book title and series that integrate history (even if in subtle ways) into their texts? Do they know that there are plenty of teens and tweens who do like to watch History Channel? Maybe Tisch and her ignorant pencil-pushers just didn’t like history when they were kids, is that it?

Ms. Tisch and Co., as a veteran teacher, a long-ago student, and a current parent of two kids who do kinda like their history classes, I beseech you: don’t gut the history curriculum. Try to imagine that the current crop of students does deserve to learn history. And try to imagine that society would like them to learn it, as well.

A public high school in Brooklyn, NYC

A public high school in Brooklyn, NYC

 

 

 

 

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