for my dad – 1926-2015
From Colorado Academic Standards - Social Studies
High School Content Area: Social Studies Grade Level Expectations
History: “Concepts and skills students master” – includes several sections.
Under “The key concepts of continuity and change, cause and effect, complexity, unity and diversity over time,” we read:
f. United States history (Reconstruction to the present):
g. Analyze continuity and change in eras over the course of United States history
h. Investigate causes and effects of significant events in United States history. Topics to include but
not limited to WWI, Great Depression, Cold War.… (page 29)
“Go to our standards and do a search for World War II. Search for Roosevelt, Churchill, Hitler.
Try Pearl Harbor, D-Day, Hiroshima, A-Bomb. Nothing. Zip.”
“You think something is missing? In Colorado we can’t ask students to know about World War II?”
*From Another View #76 (Feb. 28, 2011): “Colorado scores an F on our history standards – and what we can do about it.” At my AV web site: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=1829681342965014641#allposts
There is a more personal reason I return to my complaint that Colorado’s history standards fail to mention World War II. This time, I hope that enough folks will insist that this change.
It is not simply that next month we remember the end of the war, August 1945, 70 years ago.
World War II – It still mattered
As a boy, I saw him reading from Churchill’s Second World War Series. At age 20, in 1969, I understand (now) that he saw Vietnam though the lens of WW II, as I did not, which created conflicts for us. In my 60’s, I have joined him to watch (he listened—with his macular degeneration, the TV screen was largely a blur) WW II documentaries on the History Channel. And many DVD’s—on Churchill, Roosevelt, Ike, George Marshall (a hero of my father’s). This past March, perhaps our final time, on the D-Day landing. He seemed near tears, shaking his head, commenting—“so many getting slaughtered.” His generation. His war.
Seventy years ago this spring my dad was completing his junior year in high school, but he was desperate to do what he could in the war effort. He was 18. After being hit in the head with a baseball at age 13, there were two operations on his brain and a year out of school, so the military branches disqualified him. But he had buddies his age off fighting. President Franklin Roosevelt died in April. The war in Europe ended in May. Still, no one knew how much longer before the Allies could defeat Japan. Dad managed to sign up with the American Field Service (AFS). By June 1945 he was on his way to the India-Burma theater of war.
My dad passed away this spring, age 88. I informed the AFS, as I was eager to see that he was given recognition for his time in India. (In its annual publication, AFS Janus, a section is reserved for “AFS WW II Ambulance Drivers Last Post.” Photos of the young men; a paragraph about their recent death—ages 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92.)
One can say my father’s service made little difference. He told us of talk that the AFS might be needed in Japan—or even China … but in the end, not much to tell.
Letter from Dad (June 1994), when my parents went to France: “Normandy beaches–including ‘Pointe du Hoc’–a key point in the invasion and a place Eisenhower visited in 1964 and Reagan in 1984. The cemetery with over 9,000 white crosses. A few red noses including mine!”
I admire the fact that he jumped in as soon as he could. He did what he was allowed to do. And it was not easy; he suffered a bad case of malaria there that summer of 1945.
Was he envious of those who could call themselves veterans, as he could not? Of his older brother, who flew three tours in the South Pacific as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps?
Whatever, it mattered to my dad that he did what he could.
What I can do, in my education world in Colorado, is protest once more than World War II is not mentioned in the history standards in our state, and to ask—before all who served then have left us—that we correct this. I expect a number who remain active might feel this is one more battle, however small, worth a fight.
But who cares - as long as most Colorado schools do teach WW II?
Content and Rigor Conclusion
Colorado’s K–12 Academic Standards in social studies provide virtually no subject-specific content in U.S. history. There is hardly anything in U.S. history that teachers are specifically required to know or to teach at any particular grade level. A complete lack of specific content means that substantive rigor cannot be identified, measured, or evaluated. Even a few vague and brief references to specific eras or concepts cannot raise the score above a zero out of seven for Content and Rigor. http://www.edexcellencemedia.net/publications/2011/20110216_SOSHS/SOSS_USHistory_Colorado.pdf
The Colorado Academic Standards for Social Studies (adopted - December 10, 2009) are essentially* unchanged since I wrote Another View #76 over four years ago (*Corrections were made October 2014). I stand by my argument then and will not repeat myself (except, see box, one key quote from the critical review on our standards by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute). In AV#76 I quoted from Fritz Fischer, professor of history and the University of Northern Colorado and chairman of the National Council for History Education. Fischer’s defense: “Colorado officials are prohibited from dictating curricula to school districts.” I remain skeptical that “local control” is a sound reason why state standards will not include what may be the most significant single event of the 20th century.
Standards for teaching WW II
1. DPS ……………………………. p. 3
2. Jefferson County
3. Cherry Creek
4. Mesa County Valley
5. Colorado Springs 11…….. p. 4
7. Boulder Valley
8. Pueblo City Schools
South Carolina history standards p. 5 Massachusetts history standards p. 6
Does it even matter what our state standards do or do not say, when a look at the history guidelines in a number of districts around Colorado (see next two pages) makes it clear that World War II is taught, nearly everywhere we look? (Disturbing, though, to see “modern” U. S. History in Pueblo - #8 below – does not touch 1939-1945.) Maybe it’s fair to ask: who cares if our state guidelines are indifferent about this, as long as we have the assurance that—in practice—Colorado schools expect high school graduates to have a good understanding of WW II?
We should care. Especially when most districts adopt the Colorado Academic Standards as their guide. We can do better. Are the examples provided from South Carolina and Massachusetts too specific for our local control state? Perhaps.
But it is wrong, and embarrassing, that Colorado’s expectations do not even mention World War II.
Another View, a newsletter by Peter Huidekoper, represents his own opinion and is not intended to represent the view of any organization he is associated with. Comments are welcome. 303-757-1225 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Reminder: standards do not “dictate curriculum”
The fear that state standards lead to micromanagement of classroom instruction is nonsense, as teachers know. Choice abounds. The Colorado Academic Standards - including those for language arts and math that reflect Common Core guidelines - are deliberately vague. Colorado’s design principles of the standards start “with the competencies of prepared high school graduates, to create learning expectations for what students should understand, know, and be able to do at each grade level and in each content area.” To insist that World War II is essential to a K-12 education in Colorado is consistent with that. It is not “dictating curriculum.” http://www.cde.state.co.us/communications/instructionalprioritiesfactsheet
District standards on World War II in Colorado
Here is an overview of what we see from several districts, including a few high school course descriptions. What districts require in U.S. History courses usually includes World War II.
The standards in our two largest school districts are specific about the teaching of World War I:
1. DPS - High School U.S. History World War I and World War II
(Students will know…) What facts and basic concepts should students know and be able to recall?
· Basic characteristics of political ideologies, including democracy, communism, fascism, and Nazism
· How World Wars I and II brought the United States into the modern age as a world power
· How the growth of technology leads to conflict and/or cooperation
· Basic geography of World Wars I and II
· How economic conditions drove lack of compromise and cooperation (for example, World War II resulted from economic conditions imposed at end of World War I)
· Academic language: isolationism, totalitarianism, militarism, nationalism, imperialism, alliance system, appeasement, Manhattan Project, military technology, Treaty of Versailles, Koramatsu vs. United States, zoot suit riots, Japanese internment, Patriot Act, Munich Pact, Holocaust, Rosie the Riveter, League of Nations, United Nations
· Key players: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), Adolf Hitler, Hideki Tojo, Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Vladimir Lenin, Douglas McArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Tuskegee Airman, George Clemenceau, Jeannette Rankin
2. Jefferson County - Curriculum by Grade - 10th grade – Modern U.S. History
Jeffco’s guidelines for grade 10 appear to cover the 20th century. We see six major units during the year, including three units that— lead up to, include, and then deal with the outcomes of the war: “1920s and 1930s (20-24 days),” “World War II (23 - 31 Days),” and “Post WWII and the Cold War (25-30 days).”
3. Some districts offer specifics in their Course Curriculum Maps. Here is what Boulder states for its US History class:
Evidence Outcome: Investigate the causes and effects of WWI and WWII
Key themes and Topics: WWI and WW II
Causes of US Involvement
The home front
Key terms and vocabulary, which includes:
fascism, internationalism, American neutrality, causes of WW II, Jewish immigration, US role in WW II (European and Pacific), Japanese internment, wartime economy, daily life in wartime, the Manhattan Project, Declaration of Human Rights….
However, at their web site most districts refer to the state standards.
4. Cherry Creek School District: “In 2011, after an extensive review and recommendation by teachers and administrators, the Board of Education adopted the Colorado Academic Standards.”
5. Mesa County Valley School District 51 (Grand Junction) simply states that:
“content in District 51 classes are guided by CDE Colorado K-12 Academic Standards.”
6. Colorado Springs 11 just presents the Colorado Academic Standards. See Colorado Springs School District 11, Instruction, Curriculum and Student Services http://www.d11.org/Instruction/Pages/AcademicStandards.aspx
“We will design and deliver district-wide curriculum and assessment, based on standards of excellence that integrate 21st century skills across disciplines.” But if you then go to the link for social studies guidelines, you see the Colorado Academic Standards. https://sites.google.com/a/durango.k12.co.us/curriculum_docs/social-studiesOthers, like Durango, suggest they might have their own standards:
On occasion, the district standards, incredibly, still reflect state’s standards prior to 2009.
8. See Pueblo City Schools, under Academic Content Standards, for History:
§ Understand the chronological organization of history.
§ Know how to use the processes and resources of historical inquiry.
§ Understand that societies are diverse and have changed over time.
§ Understand how science, technology, and economic activity have affected societies.
§ Understand political institutions and theories.
§ Know that religious/philosophical ideas have been a powerful force.
The district does require a U.S. History course for graduation. Course #2200 includes this one sentence description:
U.S. History II is a continuation of U.S. History I and is a study of the United States history from Industrialization to World War II and Cold War.
It appears, though, that Course #2860, an elective for juniors and seniors, could be the only U.S History course they take, one that covers what took place after WW II:
Modern U.S. History is designed to develop critical thinking and analysis of issues within the United States and of issues that relate to the rest of the world from the Cold War to present day.
Apparently, one can graduate from a Pueblo City high school without having studied World War II.
From two other states – can Colorado adopt some of these specifics?
SOUTH CAROLINA – The only state given a straight A for its history standards
(The Thomas Fordham 2011 study)
GRADE 7 - Contemporary Cultures: 1600 to the Present
Standard 7-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the causes and effects of world conflicts in the first half of the twentieth century.
The influence of both world wars and the worldwide Great Depression are still evident. To understand the effects these events had on the modern world, the student will utilize the knowledge and skills set forth in the following indicators:
7-4.4 Compare the ideologies of socialism, communism, fascism, and Nazism and their influence on the rise of totalitarian governments after World War I in Italy, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union as a response to the worldwide depression.
7-4.5 Summarize the causes and course of World War II, including drives for empire, appeasement and isolationism, the invasion of Poland, the Battle of Britain, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Final Solution, the Lend-Lease program, Pearl Harbor, Stalingrad, the campaigns in North Africa and the Mediterranean, the D-Day invasion, the island-hopping campaigns, and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
7-4.6 Analyze the Holocaust and its impact on European society and Jewish culture, including Nazi policies to eliminate the Jews and other minorities, the Nuremberg trials, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the rise of nationalism in Southwest Asia (Middle East), the creation of the state of Israel, and the resultant conflicts in the region. (PAGE 57)
High School Standards for Social Studies
UNITED STATES HISTORY AND THE CONSTITUTION – (Required)
Standard USHC-7: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the impact of World War II on the United States and the nation’s subsequent role in the world.
In defense of democracy, a government may need to confront aggression and ask its citizens for
sacrifice in wars and providing foreign aid that, in turn, affects the practice of democracy at
home. To make informed political decisions about when and how government should go to war,
the student will utilize the knowledge and skills set forth in the following indicators:
USHC-7.1 Analyze the decision of the United States to enter World War II, including the nation’s movement from a policy of isolationism to international involvement and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
USHC-7.2 Evaluate the impact of war mobilization on the home front, including consumer sacrifices, the role of women and minorities in the workforce, and limits on individual rights that resulted in the internment of Japanese Americans.
USHC-7.3 Explain how controversies among the Big Three Allied leaders over war strategies led to post-war conflict between the United States and the USSR, including delays in the opening of the second front in Europe, the participation of the Soviet Union in the war in the Pacific, and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
USHC-7.4 Summarize the economic, humanitarian, and diplomatic effects of World War II, including the end of the Great Depression, the Holocaust, the war crimes trials, and the creation of Israel. (PAGE 111)
MASSACHUSETTS – One of five states given an A- for its history standards
(The Thomas Fordham 2011 study)
Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/hss/final.pdf
Grades 8–12 World History I and II: 500 to 2001
In World History I, students … examine the causes and consequences of the great military and economic events of the past century, including World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Russian and Chinese revolutions, the rise of nationalism, and the continuing persistence of political, ethnic, and religious conflict in many parts of the world. (PAGE 56)
U.S. History I and II: 1763–2001
In U.S. History I, students … learn about the various factors that led to America’s entry into World War I and World War II as well as the consequences of World War II for American life. (PAGE 72)
U.S. History II Learning Standards (continued)
World War II, 1939–1945
14 - Explain the strength of American isolationism after World War I and analyze its impact on U.S. foreign policy.
15 - Analyze how German aggression in Europe and Japanese aggression in Asia contributed to the start of World War II and summarize the major battles and events of the war. On a map of the world, locate the Allied powers (Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States) and Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan).
A. Fascism in Germany and Italy
B. German rearmament and militarization of the Rhineland
C. Germany’s seizure of Austria and Czechoslovakia and Germany’s invasion of Poland
D. Japan’s invasion of China and the Rape of Nanking
E. Pearl Harbor, Midway, D-Day, Okinawa, the Battle of the Bulge, Iwo Jima, and the Yalta and Potsdam conferences.
Seminal Primary Documents to Read: President Franklin Roosevelt, “Four Freedoms,” speech (1941)
Seminal Primary Documents to Consider: Justice Robert M. Jackson’s opinion for the Supreme Court in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) and Learned Hand’s The Spirit of Liberty (1944).
16 - Explain the reasons for the dropping of atom bombs on Japan and their short and long-term effects.
17 - Explain important domestic events that took place during the war.
A. how war-inspired economic growth ended the Great Depression.
B. Philip Randolph and the efforts to eliminate employment discrimination
C. the entry of large numbers of women into the workforce
D. the internment of West Coast Japanese-Americans in the U.S. and Canada (PAGE 76)