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:
- certification requirements for history teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels
- standards in history for teachers
- standards in history for the K-12 curriculum
- high school graduation requirements and exit examination requirements in history
- state criterion-referenced examinations in history
- statewide resources for history teachers and contact information for state history/social studies specialists
- 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:
- National Council for the Social Studies State executive directors and boards
- National Council for History Education state representatives
- members of the Council of State Social Studies Specialists (an NCSS group)
- 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):
Lewis W. Graydon
Daniel W. Gregg
Jacquelyn O. Wilson
Mary Anne Soboleski
John C. Craig
Richard A. Baker, Jr.
Bruce A. Lesh
Alberta M. Dougan
Joan M. Musbach
Larry K. Starr
Kenneth J. Relihan
George M. Gregory
Charles C. Mackey, Jr.
Janet Placik Welk
Paul A. Horne, Jr.
Alice M. Evans
James A. Percoco