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Is a Focus on STEM Causing the U.S. to Abandon Teaching History?

Is a Focus on STEM Causing the U.S. to Abandon Teaching History?

According to David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, increased focused and dedication to cultivating interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects has significantly diminished the country’s ability to appropriately teach history.

"It's not that our teachers are doing a poor job; it's that lesson plans and textbooks simply do not provide the kinds of details that engage young learners,” Smith said in a statement.

While Smith doesn’t argue against the importance of learning STEM, he does argue for the importance of a well-rounded education that includes history.

In order to make a difference, Smith co-founded the Grateful American Book Prize.

For those unfamiliar, the Grateful American Book Prize "is the only award for excellence in writing, storytelling and illustration for children’s historical non-fiction and fiction focused on the events and personalities that have shaped the United States since the country’s founding.”

"It is an effort to make students curious about history and to give them the power they need to realize that the past is prologue to the future. While textbooks may provide the details, works of fiction and nonfiction based on fact provide the context of history. A good page-turner does for an early learner what dry recitations of dates and events cannot do-- namely to leave them wanting for more information,” Smith said.

Certainly, Smith is not alone as many advocates agree civic education needs a major re-boot in K-12. Some experts even argue that citizenship should be the “Third C” after college and career readiness standards.

The 2016 selections for the Grateful American Book Prize will be announced in October at the Library of Congress.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

7/19/2016

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