A million-dollar federal grant helps to get public school students excited about the study of American History.
The experimental program, “Life During Wartime,” is designed specifically to raise student achievement first by improving his teacher’s knowledge and understanding of American history.
Todd Zoellick is with the United States Department of Education . In announcing the $935,000 grant at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum on Tuesday, he compliments the coalition of groups joining forces to reach this goal.
“…All coming together with the sole purpose of making sure that our teachers are adequately prepared and have the extra knowledge that they need, and are equipped with the resources that they need to go into the classroom to make history an exciting experience for our children, and make it a memorable and rewarding experience for them.”
Stanley Schultz, UW-Madison History Professor, hopes to “light a fire” under the 150 teachers in the test project.
“If we can get the teachers excited, then maybe we can get the students excited.”
He hopes to do that by complimenting the fresh insights on American history with memorabilia, artifacts, video, photos and such. Schultz points out the state licensure guidelines do not require a history major in order to teach history.
“In CESA 5 there are approximately 2% of all of the teachers grade five and up who have a license to teach history. … There are many, many more teachers than that teaching history courses.”
This project aims to get them up to speed. Schultz stresses that veterans are an important component of the coalition, helping to get the students interested in history.
Jonathan Pollack is an American history professor at MATC . He says the program will emphasize World War II and beyond, which is a segment of American history that is often under-represented in our public school history classes. Students’ levels of interest will increase, due to a focus on recently and currently deployed soldiers and their families at home.
Partners in the Project:
US Department of Education
Wisconsin Dept of Veterans Affairs
Wisconsin Veterans Museum
University of Wisconsin History Department
Madison Area Technical College (MATC)
The Cooperative Education Service Area No. 5 (CESA 5).
Madison School District
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