Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Republicans Target Teaching American History

with one comment

By Wiz

Our department’s librarian sends along this disturbing news: the Republican House is moving to eliminate the Teaching American History program.

I, along with many historians, have benefited from these grants in the past. They are Federal grants given to school districts in order to improve the quality of history education. In my case, I was paid a small amount of money ($3000 I believe) to give a semester’s worth of lectures on Civil War era historiography to New York City high school teachers. The point was to expose high school teachers to more nuanced academic debates than might appear in their textbooks. It was hardly an extravagant program– no one is exactly getting rich on $3000 dollars a semester– but it is a good program. I especially liked it because it offered a chance, however small, for Ivory Tower academic history to filter into more general audiences.

In the grand scheme of Obama era “Austerity,” it is small beans compared to the far greater cuts to education, health care, and housing that are being proposed or enacted. TAH’s entire budget is small (according to the National Coalition for History, in the 2011 budget it is given $46 Million, a rounding error for the Pentagon). But you can bet that if eliminated now, it is unlikely that it will ever be resurrected. A reminder that it won’t just be the poor, the elderly, and the vulnerable who will suffer from the bipartisan mania for cutting services, it will also be us Ivory Tower academics, as well as the general state of American education.


Written by Peter Wirzbicki

May 14, 2011 at 20:07

One Response

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  1. Why is it that we need the government to support such a good program? If the program is that good, why can’t we find supporters outside of the public fund?
    It always bothers me when people bemoan a government reduction as if valuable programs are impossible outside of using the sword to force the public to support such programs.

    Jim Henderson

    May 30, 2011 at 21:36

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