Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Friday, June 02, 2006

Mo' Money

From today's B'Ham news:

The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday that Jefferson County schools will receive a $993,888 grant to improve the quality of American history education.

Why it needs improvement:

While history is a core academic subject under the No Child Left Behind Act, the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that less than 25 percent of students in fourth, eighth and 12th grades are proficient in American history, according to the U.S. Department of Education's news release.

The money will provide training in history to the area's teachers.

This is good given the current situation, but it could have been avoided. The reason kids don't learn history is that when a prospective teacher interviews for a social studies job, the first question asked is "what do you coach?" If, instead, schools focused on the teacher's academic qualifications during the hiring process there would be no need for million dollar grants to teach the teachers things they should have known before they began teaching. Only academically qualified teachers would be hired, hence no need to spend money bringing them up to par.