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History First for Cleveland Students

Thursday, June 21, 2007 at 9:57 AM

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The U.S. Department of Education is throwing its financial weight behind a new program aimed at connecting Cleveland history students to the world outside of the classroom. ideastream's David C. Barnett has more.

Kristine Cohn of the U.S. Department of Education was in town yesterday to present a check to the Cleveland Schools in support of the “History First” program, developed at Kenyon College. The grant, which totals nearly a million dollars, will fund a three-year exercise aimed at improving the classroom skills of 5th and 8th grade history teachers.

Will Scott of Kenyon College says the teaching of history has been degraded over the years by poorly trained faculty members who often double as athletic coaches at many schools.

Will Scott: There are some national polls rating, from the students point of view, the classrooms that they seemed to learn the most from. And social studies and history, almost always, tend to hit in the bottom third.

Scott says the History First program will work to turn that around by focusing on the teaching skills of 90 Cleveland instructors. Emphasis will be made on making history relevant by taking students on projects outside of the classroom and demonstrating the connections between events of the past and their lives today. David C. Barnett, 90.3.

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