Public Release: 

$5 million from state will transform K-12 history education

UC Davis receives more than $1 million, plays integral role

University of California - Davis

The University of California, Davis, will receive more than $1 million from the California Historical Society as part of the society's $5 million, state-funded contract to establish online teaching and learning resources for K-12 history-social science curriculum slated to be available in 2019.

The historical society will work with the California History-Social Science Project, or CHSSP, headquartered in the Department of History at UC Davis, to establish and implement what will be called Teaching California: an innovative, free, online resource of instructional materials to support the state's new History-Social Science Framework. The objective of the program is to ensure California's large historical and archival resources are readily accessible to all K-12 students to foster better understanding of the state's history, improve student literacy, and promote civic learning and engagement. The initiative creates a sustainable model for instructional material development in history-social science as well as other content areas.

The funding came through Assembly Bill 99, introduced by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, chair of the assembly budget committee, and signed into law in late June.

Through Teaching California, CHS and CHSSP will develop dynamic, expansive online curriculum composed of primary and secondary source materials, drawing upon its vast archival resources and those of the libraries across the state and nation. These resources will be carefully curated and tailored to provide K-12 teachers and students with online resources they need to analyze and understand the past. Critically, these materials will embody an interpretation of history that places California at the center of the study of the past by offering local and state examples of national and worldwide histories, highlighting the rich, varied and impactful contributions of Californians.

"The California Historical Society is honored to help lead this program and work together with educators throughout the state to help implement California's new History-Social Science Framework," said Anthea Hartig, executive director and CEO of CHS. "Teaching California helps ensure that California teachers and students will have access to the rich, complex history that has made our state what it is today."

Teaching California helps implement California's new History-Social Science Framework, which was adopted by the state Board of Education in July 2016. The CHSSP served as the primary writers of the new framework, which outlines an instructional approach that promotes student-centered inquiry and encourages students to develop clear and persuasive arguments based on their own interpretations of the past, using relevant evidence. The framework also details how teachers can teach students history-social science, while at the same time develop their proficiency in English, as outlined in the Common Core and English Language Development Standards.

"At the heart of Teaching California is a one-of-a-kind partnership between a state historical society and a statewide network of history educators, working together to help California students understand and appreciate the contributions of Californians to our national history and our global past," said Nancy McTygue, executive director of the California History-Social Science Project. "Teaching California will offer schools, teachers, and students a free and classroom-ready collection of resources designed to engage children in exciting and inspiring investigations of the past. At the same time, the collection will offer teachers a research-based approach to improve student reading, writing and critical thinking."

The Teaching California funds will be administered by San Francisco Unified School District with CHS and CHSSP working together with school districts, teachers and students to build the program.

Kate Bowen, who leads teacher training programs for the CHSSP, said the new materials will give her fifth-graders at Patwin Elementary School in Davis a deeper understanding of history. "The partnership between the CHS and CHSSP will give educators around California a golden opportunity to engage students in history. Unlike a random search-engine search, the carefully selected sources would be ideal for teachers and students."


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