New history standards challenged

When the new State standards for American History were released, Milford school board member Gary Knepp was incensed.  As an historian & Adjunct Assistant Professor of history at UC Clermont, he sees how students already don’t know enough about our country’s history.  If the proposed new standards are adopted, they could know even less.

On April 8, Gary joined Clermont County Veterans’ Services Director Dan Bare and Northern Kentucky University History Professor Jeffrey Williams on WVXU’s Impact Cincinnati to discuss the situation.

Gary sees students in his classes at UC Clermont who don’t have a basis in what American history is about.  The new standards will reduce what is required even further.  Professor Williams feels this is partly due to No Child Left Behind legislation.  There is also the issue of “fitting everything in”: as more history is made, what do you remove from curriculum to include important recent events?

The three guests also discussed the approach to teaching history.  Mr. Bare states we are losing a sense of who we are, where we came from.  The others agree, stressing we must teach about the “real America,” warts and all.  But on the other hand, the swing can be to focus too much on the warts and lose sight of the exceptionalism that is America, a nation based on liberty and freedom.

Due to efforts to committed people like these, State House Bill 494, legislation to delay the adoption of science & social studies curriculum standards for one year, was introduced yesterday.  The year delay would provide opportunity for a more thorough look at what should be included in the standards.

The bill is guaranteed one public hearing.  If you would like more information or would like to find out how you can help the effort, please contact Gary Knepp at

Listen to the Impact Cincinnati program here.

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