chapter  14
Mirrors, Mutuality of Interest, and Opportunities to Learn: Th e TAH Program, Assessment, and Faculty
Pages 16

In February 2008, in a rite of passage as regular as congressional recesses, another installment in the canon of concern about students’ basic knowledge of history appeared in Th e New York Times. Reporting on the results of its recent telephone survey, Common Core, a nonpartisan research group dedicated to the teaching of liberal arts in American public schools, decried the state of history education in America’s public education. One of Common Core’s central arguments is that the “No Child Left Behind [NCLB]…has impoverished America’s public school curriculum by holding schools accountable for students’ cores on annual tests in reading and math” while requiring no similar tests for other disciplines, leaving the choice to assess student learning in those areas, history among them, to the states. While not directly indicting NCLB for the poor state of history knowledge among America teenagers, Common Core did argue that “the law has led schools to focus too narrowly on reading and math, thereby crowding time out of the school day for history, literature and other subjects.” Indeed, this assessment echoed the results of the Center on Education Policy study, which indicated that “62 percent of school systems nationwide had added an average of three hours of math or reading instruction each week, at the expense of time spend on social studies, art and other subjects.”1 Such concerns mirrored those expressed elsewhere concerning the impact of NCLB with one report pronouncing one of the “worst-case scenarios” to be “a generation of youth who have good ‘word attack’ skills but who know little and care less about important facts, events, and concepts in history, science, and the arts.”2