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A comprehensive fifty-one jurisdiction review of statutes mandating and encouraging the teaching of history in K--12 schools

A. Edward Cutting, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This is a linear review of the education statutes of each state for the purpose of identifying those statutes which require the state's history to be taught in its K-12 schools, with further analysis for trends and outliers. ^ The intent is to first serve as a benchmark as to where both each state and the nation as a whole is at this point in time. A related second point reflects upon the fact that three generations of Maine educators mistakenly believed the existence of a law which never existed. This research thus serves as a comprehensive guide to parties either interested in knowing what their own state's statutes already require and/or what statutes exist in other states and hence how their own state's statutes might be amended. ^ Third, in the event that a national history curriculum is adopted, this research is intended to serve as a guide as to what local content would need to be included in these national standards in order to satisfy local interests; the presumption being both that the statutes reflect the will of the populace and that we are a federal republic of quite diverse semi-sovereign states which are not going to be identical. ^ An incidental interesting aspect of this research was the redundancy of laws: in one state, no fewer than five different laws, arguably six, require the teaching of the exact same curricula. Regional distinctions were found, but they were neither as clear nor as consistent as anticipated. Likewise, there was no clear correlation between a state's generally perceived political climate and the number of relevant laws which it had. ^ Finally, this dissertation includes a discussion of how the teaching of state history might be improved in three New England states (i.e. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine). ^

Subject Area

Educational administration|Social sciences education

Recommended Citation

Cutting, A. Edward, "A comprehensive fifty-one jurisdiction review of statutes mandating and encouraging the teaching of history in K--12 schools" (2012). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3525139.