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Congress Provides 200,000 to Improve History Education; National History Day Helps Improve Wisconsin School District

AScribe Newswire February 4, 2002 Monday

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 [AScribe Newswire] -- The federal government has awarded the D.C. Everest School in Schofield, Wisconsin a $200,000 appropriation as part of the federal education bill.  The funding will be used to improve history education using a curriculum model developed by the National History Day, Inc.

The money from the FY2002 bill will allows the district to collaborate with the Wisconsin State Historical Society and pay D.C. Everest teachers to create curriculum materials and plan in-service teacher training programs.  Financial support will also be used to improve the National History Day [NHD] program that is already part of the D.C. Everest School curriculum.  The funding is designed to help improve history education for underserved communities, particularly the Hmong and American Indian population in the district.

National History Day is a yearlong education program through which students create projects in the form of documentaries, exhibits, performances and papers. The academic program helps teachers meet education standards and fosters students' enthusiasm for learning.  Through NHD, over 700,000 young Americans annually develop an appreciation of their heritage and essential life skills that will help them in college and in the workplace.  The program has received the Charles Frankel Prize for public programming in the humanities from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is highlighted in the Presidential Committee on Arts and Humanities report, Creative America, as an "exemplary program."

In the last National Assessment of Educational Progress over one-third of eight graders failed to reach the "basic level" of history understanding, and a recent study by Colonial Williamsburg highlights the decline in America's historical literacy.  "We hope that Congress will look at what the NHD program has achieved and will expand and support the program in the same way that it supports the National Writing Project to improve student writing," said Dr. Cathy Gorn, executive director of NHD.

"Investing in our young people's future is one of our foremost responsibilities, and ensuring that our schools have the resources to provide a solid education is the first step toward achieving that goal," explains Rep. Obey of Wisconsin.  "The results of this project will eventually be used as a model to create a program which will improve history education throughout the district and the country."

The National History Day program has helped to improve history education across the country and is a required part of the curriculum in many school districts.  "Students who know and appreciate American history are well prepared to understand and exercise their civic rights and responsibilities," states U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige in a news release about American history.

School districts and educators can learn more about the National History Day program by calling 301-314-9739, or by visiting the official NHD website at http://www.nationalhistoryday.org. CONTACT: Melissa Maranda, National History Day, 301-314-9542; mr209@umail.umd.edu