"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teaching American History Grant on the Chopping Block

The latest stop gap budget proposed by House Republicans contained $12 billion in spending cuts. Among those cuts was $119 million for the Teaching American History Grant. The TAH is "designed to raise student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge and understanding of and appreciation for traditional U.S. history. Grant awards will assist LEAs, in partnership with entities that have content expertise, to develop, document, evaluate, and disseminate innovative and cohesive models of professional development. By helping teachers to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of U.S. history as a separate subject matter within the core curriculum, these programs will improve instruction and raise student achievement."

The president has asked congress to protect education funding, but they have already proposed numerous cuts to programs that have traditionally been protected like:

Even Start Family Literacy program: $66.5 million
• Striving Readers program: $250 million
• Literacy Through School Libraries: $19 million
• The National Writing Project: $25.6 million
Education Technology State Grants: $100 million
• Ready-to-Learn Television: $27.3 million
• Tech Prep State Grants: $102 million
• Foreign Language Assistance: $26.9 million
• Mathematics and Science partnerships: $180 million
• Civic Education: $35 million
• Elementary and Secondary School Counseling: $55 million
• Smaller Learning Communities: $88 million
• The Obama administration's $50 million high school graduation initiative, which is a fairly new program
Teacher Quality Partnerships: $43 million
• New Leaders for New Schools: $5 million.
• Teach for America: $18 million appropriation.
• The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: $10.6 appropriation.

All together congress has proposed cutting DOE funding by $5 billion. By grouping them, as I did, you can start to see that perhaps there is some redundancy in the DOE's programs. Obama did suggest that related programs be grouped together into single funding streams that offer more flexibility.

There will be those who complain bitterly about the loss of such programs, but I hope people keep the bigger picture in mind. I am a personal fan of American history and, as much as I hate to see a good program like TAH cut, if it gets us closer to a world with a smaller or non-existent DOE in Washington, then I think we let it go. Other groups like Vacation Liberty School or the Pillar Foundation will step in to fill in the gap and keep our teachers and students well versed in American History. Without that knowledge it will be easy for the latest group of progressives to move their agenda forward.


  1. "By helping teachers to develop a deeper understanding and apreciation of U.S. history as a separate subject matter within the core curriculum, these programs will improve instruction and raise student achievement."

    Sorry, but any 'history' described like that, is unlikely to be a history worth learning. Off with its head!

  2. It is a shame that teaching students are not receiving U.S. American History at the college level that prepares them to teach the subject when they become teachers. Budget cuts are coming and educators need to think about how they will tighten their belts and still give students quality instruction!


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