Arizona’s new state social studies standards are the most rigorous in the nation, according to representatives of the History Channel.
The new standards list what schools must teach year by year in geography, history and economics, from kindergarten through high school.
“Arizona’s standards establish a benchmark for the rest of the country,” said Libby Haight O’Connell, chief historian for the History Channel, who was on hand to visit with state education officials on Tuesday. “We analyzed the history curriculum of every state. Arizona stood head and shoulders above the other 49.”
The new state standards, implemented this year, were based in part on Core Knowledge curriculum used throughout many schools in the Paradise Valley Unified School District, where state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne sat on the governing board for 23 years.
This curriculum focuses on children learning the basics of history and focuses on more traditional lessons.
Some educators, however, have criticized the new standards, saying they are too hard to implement and are too ethnocentric, not emphasizing enough content about other cultures.