Friday, September 16, 2005

Constitution Day

Apparently, tomorrow is Constitution Day, the day mandated by federal law when every school receiving federal money must teach about the Constitution, according to (a href="">The New York Times. Apparently, many historians (at least the historians quoted in the article) fear that No Child Left Behind is eliminating the study of history by forcing focus on reading and math skills. At least so says David McCullough, author of the fascinating if occasionally impenetrable 1776. He supports Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)'s bill to develop a nation-wide history test--as if public school kids don't have enough tests to study for.

While I agree that teachers are much more likely to cover material that their students will be tested on (called "teaching to the test"), I don't agree that more mandated testing is the way to encourage a study of history. Or writing, for that matter, although the newly rewritten SAT shows the College Board disagrees. Children learn from teachers who are excited by what they do and I doubt more federally mandated curriculum is going to excite anyone. ;)

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