Excerpt from an article by Jeffrey...


March 31, 1992

/TC THE FOLLOWING excerpt from an article by Jeffrey Thomas, based on a 1989-1990 survey by the National Endowment for the Humanities of 481 schoolteacher, appears in the March/April issue of the NEH publication Humanities:

High school teachers of U.S. history are spending more classroom time teaching the twentieth century than the early history of the nation, running counter to the oft-stated complaint that teachers run out of teaching time at the end of the school year without having arrived at the end of the syllabus. . . .

Unlike their U.S. history counterparts, world history teachers -- despite the disintegration of the Soviet satellite structure in then-current ['89-'90]events -- gave scant attention to 20th century history, with the exception of World Wars I and II. . . .

The top ten course topics given most extensive coverage by high school history teachers (in descending order of coverage) are as follows:


1. World War II

2. The Great Depression & the New Deal

3. World War I

4. The 1920s

5. Current issues

6. The 1960s & civil rights

7. Cold War

8. Vietnam War

9. The recent past

10. Postwar domestic America


1. Rise and spread of the great monotheistic religions

2. Ancient Rome: foundations, republic and early empire

3. Greek civilization from Homer to the Peloponesian wars

4. World War II

5. Renaissance

6. World War I

7. Ancient Rome: later empire, legacy and limitations

8. Democratic revolutions

9. Totalitarianism: Nazi Germany & Stalinist Russia

10. Reformation & its effects

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