New study gives Iowa failing grades for teaching standards in civics, U.S. history

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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This helps explain how Iowa went for Trump twice, elected Kim and Joni, as well as Ashley Hinson and MMM:

The Iowa Department of Education's civics and U.S. history standards are "inadequate," according to a new study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

The State of State Standards for Civics and U.S. History in 2021, released Wednesday, "evaluates the quality of the K-12 civics and U.S. history standards" used in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Iowa, researchers reviewed the Department of Education's 2017 social studies standards, which cover kindergarten through 12th grade instruction. Researchers evaluated the standards for content, rigor, clarity and organization.

The Ohio-based Fordham Institute focuses on improving education.

Study co-author David Griffith, a senior research and policy associate at the Fordham Institute, said in an email that Iowa ranked in the bottom third of the states, receiving a D for its civics standards and an F for its U.S. history standards.


► More:Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs law targeting critical race theory, saying she's against 'discriminatory indoctrination'

Neighboring Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska were also among the 20 states with standards rated "inadequate." The states that ranked exemplary included Alabama, California, Massachusetts and Tennessee.

"Iowa’s current civics and U.S. history standards are inadequate ... and there is no discernible coverage of U.S. history at the K-8 level," the authors stated in the report.

A complete revision of the state's standards was recommended.

► More:Iowans could force school boards to hear curriculum concerns if the governor signs this education bill


Civic rating​

The authors broke down the issues it found with that state's civic standards into strengths and weaknesses.

Iowa's civics standards strengths included "careful attention to citizenship skills and dispositions from Kindergarten through fifth grade" and the intentional development of "critical thinking skills" in sixth- through 12th-grade students.

Weaknesses included the standards being too "broad and vague to provide useful guidance," a lack of standards for sixth-grade students, and standards for fifth-grade students that "fail to call attention to or develop Iowa's rich history of Civil Rights."

U.S. history rating​

The study noted the state's U.S. history standards demonstrated strength in their "reasonably strong emphasis on history related skills."

Weaknesses included the standards being "almost completely devoid of historical content," not providing direction for educators, and there being "no meaningful" U.S. history coverage before eighth grade.

Griffith offered some advice for improving Iowa's civics and U.S. history standards.

"Provide a more rigorous introduction to civics in elementary and middle school and ensure that students make at least one full pass through U.S. History prior to high school," he said in an email. "Organize the high school standards by course, and provide much more specific and detailed guidance in both subjects."

 

mustang_hawk

HR All-American
Gold Member
Jun 28, 2001
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This helps explain how Iowa went for Trump twice, elected Kim and Joni, as well as Ashley Hinson and MMM:

The Iowa Department of Education's civics and U.S. history standards are "inadequate," according to a new study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

The State of State Standards for Civics and U.S. History in 2021, released Wednesday, "evaluates the quality of the K-12 civics and U.S. history standards" used in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Iowa, researchers reviewed the Department of Education's 2017 social studies standards, which cover kindergarten through 12th grade instruction. Researchers evaluated the standards for content, rigor, clarity and organization.

The Ohio-based Fordham Institute focuses on improving education.

Study co-author David Griffith, a senior research and policy associate at the Fordham Institute, said in an email that Iowa ranked in the bottom third of the states, receiving a D for its civics standards and an F for its U.S. history standards.


► More:Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs law targeting critical race theory, saying she's against 'discriminatory indoctrination'

Neighboring Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska were also among the 20 states with standards rated "inadequate." The states that ranked exemplary included Alabama, California, Massachusetts and Tennessee.

"Iowa’s current civics and U.S. history standards are inadequate ... and there is no discernible coverage of U.S. history at the K-8 level," the authors stated in the report.

A complete revision of the state's standards was recommended.

► More:Iowans could force school boards to hear curriculum concerns if the governor signs this education bill


Civic rating​

The authors broke down the issues it found with that state's civic standards into strengths and weaknesses.

Iowa's civics standards strengths included "careful attention to citizenship skills and dispositions from Kindergarten through fifth grade" and the intentional development of "critical thinking skills" in sixth- through 12th-grade students.

Weaknesses included the standards being too "broad and vague to provide useful guidance," a lack of standards for sixth-grade students, and standards for fifth-grade students that "fail to call attention to or develop Iowa's rich history of Civil Rights."

U.S. history rating​

The study noted the state's U.S. history standards demonstrated strength in their "reasonably strong emphasis on history related skills."

Weaknesses included the standards being "almost completely devoid of historical content," not providing direction for educators, and there being "no meaningful" U.S. history coverage before eighth grade.

Griffith offered some advice for improving Iowa's civics and U.S. history standards.

"Provide a more rigorous introduction to civics in elementary and middle school and ensure that students make at least one full pass through U.S. History prior to high school," he said in an email. "Organize the high school standards by course, and provide much more specific and detailed guidance in both subjects."

Not to worry, cocktail Kim probably has the United Daughters of the Confederacy on this as we speak.
 
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Reactions: cigaretteman

mthawkeyes

HR Heisman
Mar 22, 2007
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Fourmile Creek
I'm not at all familiar with the social sciences standards, but it appears the issue that this group has with Iowa's standards are that they are based entirely on the skills students are expected to master (i.e. analyzing information, constructing an argument, etc.) without reference to specific historical events that should be learned. I do know that such is the basis for assessment at my high school. In my area (science), each standard includes science concepts, science practices (skills), and cross-cutting concepts (broader scientific principles).

My $0.02 is that most of this is mostly just noise because 90% or more of the history and civics content in more than 90% of Iowa school districts is basically the same. That being said, there should probably be statements that ensure that major events in US history and the structure of our institutions are being taught in all schools.
 

pablow

HR Legend
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Mar 14, 2010
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Maybe Iowa is not very good at writing "standards."
 
Feb 25, 2008
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I knew the 50 states and the capitals bare minimum by at least Kindergarten.

Yet when you venture outside the state you find plenty of adults who not only couldn't find Iowa on a map (with the names of the states on them......), but are surprised to learn that human beings actually live here.

Yet, our state doesn't meet the "standards"............

Sure sure.