CSU Long Beach -- November 17, 2003
Area School Districts Partnered with CSULB Receive 'Teaching American
The History Department at California State University, Long Beach and
three of its partner school districts have been awarded $2.86 million
in “Teaching American History” grants by the U.S. Department
of Education to improve how U.S. history is taught at the K-12 level.
The three grants went to the Compton Unified School District ($967,996),
the Garden Grove Unified School District ($959,014) and the Long Beach
Unified School District ($936,910), and all three of their respective
projects include the History Department at Cal State Long Beach as a
“No one imagined we would get grants for all three proposals.
I mean, those three grants represent more than what many entire states
received,” said Donald Schwartz, CSULB professor of history and
academic coordinator for the Teaching American History projects. “Each
project has its own particular focus, but all three will bring college
history professors in a close working relationship with high school,
middle school and elementary school social science teachers.”
The Teaching American History grant program supports three-year projects
to improve teachers’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation
for American history through intensive, ongoing professional development.
Projects must be in partnership with organizations that have extensive
knowledge of American history, including libraries, museums, nonprofit
history or humanities organizations and higher education institutions.
The Long Beach Unified project will focus on recruiting under-performing
students and developing a unique, two-year advanced placement history
course for them. Program administrators will work very closely with
another partner on the project, Gerder Lerner Institute for American
History, a consortium of professors of American history based in New
“Traditionally, advanced placement courses are for the brighter
students, but the purpose of the Teaching American History grant projects
are to address the needs of under-performing students,” Schwartz
explained. “During the first year, we are going to focus on skills
development and help give them the tools to be more successful in the
second year when they will be focusing more on content.”
The Garden Grove district will have two other partners involved with
its project. The Education Department of the Federal Reserve Bank will
assist with the program’s focus on economic issues throughout
American history, and the Center for Civic Education will provide curriculum
training on democratic principles and the U.S. Constitution.
And, the Compton district’s project will focus on heroes and crucial
turning points in American history. A emphasis on biography will be
an important component in this project.
Overall, 114 school districts in 38 states received $98.5 million in
grants through the program, including 17 districts in California. “Teaching
American History grants are a powerful tool for teachers,” U.S.
Secretary of Education Rod Paige said when he announced the grants.
“For three years, they link together our nation’s history
teachers with professional historians and other experts. We do this
because teachers who have a deep and vast knowledge of their subject
are better able to inspire their students, to fully engage their minds
and to imbue them with a lifelong taste for learning.”