The Founding Fathers will return to Arizona’s high schools now that the state Board of Education has revised history standards.
At the urging of Tom Horne, state superintendent of public instruction, the board voted Monday to require American history classes to cover the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and world history classes to cover the Greco-Roman basis for Western Civilization.
The move reverses decisions made when Lisa Graham Keegan was the state’s top education official.
Under Keegan’s administration, academic standards were revised so that high school history classes covered more modern history — with the foundations of American government and Western Civilization being taught in sixth and seventh grades.
"We put in hundreds of hours developing the state standards — and now, we have to redo them at the whim of a state politician? I am incensed," said Marcie Hutchinson, a history teacher at Mesa’s Red Mountain High School.
Linda Perl, a history and social studies teacher at Scottsdale’s Saguaro High School, said the state board under Keegan’s administration had followed the examples of California and Texas by focusing on modern history.
"It was argued that classes were so bogged down in the colonial period and the Civil War, that no one could get to the Vietnam War and the ’70s and Reaganomics," said Perl, who retired this spring.
"But we teachers knew in our hearts this wasn’t going to fly when we revised the standards five years ago," she said.
Under the guidelines approved Monday, sixth- and seventh-graders will continue to learn about the foundations of American government and Western Civilization, but those topics also will be covered at a higher intellectual level in high school, Horne said. "Many studies show students are shockingly ignorant of American history," Horne said.