Ann Marie Ryan
Loyola University Chicago
Untold amounts of time and money are invested in making changes to teaching practice, often with the best intentions and limited ideas about how to actually pull it off. In early May, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation announced a major new initiative to change the way American history is taught across the country. The Foundation argues that it is a failure of teaching that two out of three Americans cannot pass the U.S. citizenship exam. Accordingly, its new “American History Initiative” will include an online platform for professional development, lessons, and interactive learning materials as well as expanded teacher fellowships and research on curriculum. It is a sizable, much needed, and laudable investment of resources in history education. However, one key question remains: Why do they think this will work?
The authors are 2019 editors of the Review of Research in Education. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
The schools in Chicago have a lot of initiatives going on. The three of us live and work here, so we are very engaged with the public and parochial schools across the city and suburbs. We see a dizzying array of efforts to improve teaching and learning: Professional Learning Communities, the International Baccalaureate, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, culturally responsive teaching practices, one-to-one computing, and many, many more efforts.