Today, Corbin Moore (the President of the Ohio Council for the Social Studies) and I provided a proponent testimony to Senate Bill 96. As we all know, the Ohio Legislature recently downgraded World History to an elective course. In order to graduate from high school, Ohio’s students will only need to complete required coursework in American History and American Government.
We believe that today’s global age demands all of Ohio’s students receive instruction in world history before graduating from high school. Unlike any other generation, today’s students will be actors on a global stage. Due to improvements in technology, communications, and transportation events in a once distant part of the world have immediate impact on our nation and state. Significant global issues such as nuclear proliferation, international trade and investment, conflict/terrorism, and environmental degradation can only be remedied through a commitment to global understanding, communication, collaboration, and action. Today’s schools are on the frontlines in preparing citizens with requisite knowledge and skills in world history, culture, economics, and geography. By not requiring instruction in world history, our attempt to build a world-class education system is anything but worldly.
Senate Bill 96 sponsored by Senator LaRose and co-sponsored by Senators Lehner, Hite, and Cafaro is essential in putting the global back into our efforts to build a world-class education system. After testimony today, both Corbin and I are confident that with this legislation will continue to move through the Senate’s Education Committee and pass the Senate. However, we have some significant challenges ahead if this greatly needed bill is to become law.
Some members of the Ohio House of Representatives and some members of the State Board of Education oppose this legislation. Their rationale varies from one Representative noting “…it’ll be a cold day in hell before he spends one dollar of Ohio taxpayer revenue to teach about other countries, as students need to learn about U.S. values and how this country is a light on top of a hill.” Other reservations include the possibility of the legislation/Ohio Legislature overstepping its boundaries and micromanaging the curriculum of local school districts. Such rationale fails to account for the fact that some fiscally strapped Ohio local school districts have already cut and downgraded world history to an elective course and many more will continue to do so at a time where our state and its economy can ill afford a globally ignorant and apathetic citizenry. This argument against also fails to account for the historical precedent set by the Ohio Legislature in the past in identifying particular courses and content that must be taught (see SB 165 which was signed into law), and the Ohio legislature’s constitutional right to ensure a high quality learning experience for all of its students
This campaign needs your help (as we’ve come so far) and we’re asking that you contact the following two parties and ask each support Senate Bill 96:
- Your elected Ohio State Board of Education Member: http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Members
- Your assigned Ohio House of Representative Member: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/index
Please, feel free to use the provided letter template in your correspondences: http://tinyurl.com/lhrnaq4.
The time to act is now, and your contacts will make all the difference in our Campaign to Save World History in Ohio’s Schools.