Ernest Freeberg, head of the UT Department of History, and Daniel Feller, professor of history, penned an opinion-editorial for the Knoxville News Sentinel to add to the current conversation in the state over proposed changes to K-12 social studies standards.
Freeberg and Feller support streamlining history standards as a way to better prepare high school students to read history critically. Memorizing names and dates is not a good approach to teaching history, they say.
“We also believe that history, if well taught, is interesting, even riveting…In short, the present standards are a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees. We do not see the proposed revisions as abbreviating history. We see them as an attempt to restore its importance by moving from memorization to understanding, from trivia to meaning. Legislators demand that students learn about the battles of Fort Donelson and Chickamauga. We’d much rather they understand what the war was all about.” Read the story online.