It’s kind of ironic. Seventy-five years ago, a bunch of brave, mostly very young, Americans stormed the beaches in Normandy, France in a bloody action that signaled the beginning of the end for Nazi dominance in Europe. It was one of the signature acts of what we now consider “The Greatest Generation,” and we at BIPPS honor those who made this supreme effort for freedom.
But, will future generations of Kentucky’s students know and honor this major battle and those who fought it?
Children in Kentucky’s elementary and middle schools will likely be left clueless because the proposed revision to Kentucky’s public school social studies standards don’t even mention World War II until high school.
Over in Indiana, their social studies standards introduce World War II in the fourth grade.
But, even Kentucky’s mentioning of World War II in the high school standards is rather vague. It treats the war more as an era in time rather instead of discussing the series of the events and sacrifices in this war that our children should learn about.
You will search the entire 229-page Kentucky document in vain for terms like “D-Day” and “Normandy.” Ditto for “Pearl Harbor” and “Iwo-Jima.”
That’s not the way another state with high quality social studies standards has done it. Standards used for many years in Massachusetts (currently only available as an HTML document here) received several top ratings in evaluations of state social studies standards. That state specifically lists “D-Day,” “Iwo Jima,” “Pearl Harbor,” “The Bataan Death March” and a number of other World War II events the Greatest Generation slugged its way through as things their students must learn.
Massachusetts just released new social studies standards last year. However, even these new Massachusetts standards, which have yet to be evaluated by independent groups, continue to include plenty of content. The new Massachusetts standards still mention “D-Day,” “Iwo Jima,” “Pearl Harbor,” “The Bataan Death March” and a whole lot more. Unlike Kentucky, Massachusetts did not choose to only follow some of the limited, fad ideas that stress process over content, ideas which strongly influenced Kentucky’s new proposal.
So, please do honor our Greatest Generation members today on the anniversary of one of the major battles that marked them for all time as worthy of that title.
Then, take time to really show your appreciation by letting your Kentucky legislators know you don’t want the state to have vacuous social studies standards that could very well be considered a dishonor by those who fought in World War II and by those who fought in every war since (The Korean War, Vietnam War, and Persian Gulf Wars are completely unmentioned in the proposed standards, too). Fortunately, the legislature’s Interim Joint Education Committee still has a chance to send the weak proposal back for more work, but that won’t happen unless Kentuckians get involved.