History Education in the United States: Methods of Gathering and Verifying Data

A central goal of this project was to develop a snapshot of precollegiate history education in the 50 states and Washington, D.C.  Hired by the Organization of American Historians as the lead researcher for this OAH/AHA project, Sarah Drake Brown requested information in the following categories:

  1. certification requirements for history teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels
  2. standards in history for teachers
  3. standards in history for the K-12 curriculum
  4. high school graduation requirements and exit examination requirements in history
  5. state criterion-referenced examinations in history
  6. statewide resources for history teachers and contact information for state history/social studies specialists
  7. statewide associations for teacher membership

This proved to be a massive amount of data, so the information was collected in separate steps: independent searches for data, preliminary public presentations of initial findings, and early contact with numerous representatives in history education from each of the states and the District of Columbia. Preliminary data was then collected from the websites created and maintained by the various departments of education and certifying bodies in each of the states. This information was then compiled into reports for each state, organized into sections based on the categories listed above.

These preliminary findings were then reported at meetings of the National Council for Social Studies, the American Historical Association, and the Organization of American Historians, to generate feedback about the questions, categories, and sources of information. Concurrently with the public presentations, copies of each state's summary were sent off to history education specialists in each state. Contacts in the states included:

  1. National Council for the Social Studies State executive directors and boards
  2. National Council for History Education state representatives
  3. members of the Council of State Social Studies Specialists (an NCSS group)
  4. certification offices and/or state departments of education

Response to the survey varied significantly from state to state. In some states, as many as three individuals completed a response form and provided feedback regarding the accuracy of their state's report. History education specialists, in only eight states (Arizona, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia) and Washington, D.C., failed to provide a response.  So the information provided is based solely on publicly available materials.  We acknowledge, with thanks, assistance from the following individuals (and states):

Alabama
Lewis W. Graydon

Alaska
Louie Yannotti

Arkansas
Ron Tolson
Steven Weber

California
John Burns

Colorado
Neil Deason
Brenda Ellis

Connecticut
Daniel W. Gregg
Joel Latman

Delaware
Joann Pruitt
Jacquelyn O. Wilson

Florida
Ralph Ricardo
Denise Scheidler
Theron Trimble

Georgia
Eddie Bennett
Judy Butler

Hawaii
Mary Anne Soboleski

Idaho
Ed Pfeifer

Illinois
Richard Carlson
John C. Craig

Indiana
Darrell Bigham
Chris McGrew

Kansas
Susan Helbert

Kentucky
Allison Bell
Robin Chandler
Rebecca Hanly

Louisiana
Richard A. Baker, Jr.

Maine
Connie Manter

Maryland
Bruce A. Lesh
Mark Stout
Marcie Taylor-Thoma

Massachusetts
Virginia Ahart
Sandra Stotsky
Dorothy Verheyen

Michigan
Sue Wittick

Minnesota
Charles Skemp

Missouri
Alberta M. Dougan
Joan M. Musbach
Warren Solomon

Nebraska
Robert Crosier
Larry K. Starr

Nevada
Robin Cobb
Chopin Kiang

New Hampshire
Kenneth J. Relihan

New Jersey
John Pyne

New Mexico
Patricia Concannon

New York
George M. Gregory
Betsy Guardenier
Charles C. Mackey, Jr.

North Carolina
Penny Maguire

North Dakota
Janet Placik Welk

Ohio
Donna Nesbitt

Oregon
Janet Madland
Andrea Morgan

Pennsylvania
Susan Rimby

Rhode Island
Luther Spoehr

South Carolina
Sherry Cashwell
Paul A. Horne, Jr.

South Dakota
Jerald Goehring
Gwen Rothenberger

Tennessee
Michelle Ungurait

Texas
Judy Brodigan

Vermont
Alice M. Evans

Virginia
Colleen Bryant
Paul Joseph
James A. Percoco

Wisconsin
Margaret Laughlin
Mark Schwingle

Wyoming
Adell VanPatten-Gomy