US public school curriculums have been a hot topic as of late, but rather than looking at the flaws in our education system, we’re choosing to take a look at areas with excellent curriculums that other states can potentially model theirs after. When it comes to US history, two states stand out with excellent curriculums: Alabama and California.
Despite being politically and geographically extremely different, both Alabama and California ranked highest in terms of quality of K-12 US history education programs in a new study by the Fordham Institute.
The study determined curriculum quality by looking at both the content as well as depth and quality. States like Massachusetts and Tennessee also ranked highly, but what set California and Alabama apart was strong state standards enforced across the board and curriculums which took a comprehensive approach to teach history in a logical and critically assessed manner.
Other states which did not rank as highly either had significant biases in their teachings or lost clarity due to poor curriculum design. Texas classrooms, for example, teach about the Civil War before they teach about slavery, leaving students without a complete understanding of the contributing factors which lead to the Civil War.
Overall, the researchers note that curriculums that are nuanced, specific, and offer a complete picture of US history, both the good and the bad, better prepare students to think critically about how history has influenced modern society and how we can take the lessons of the past to inform a better future.