World history starts in 1500 in Georgia’s new curriculum; U.S. history starts in 1876. Writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a veteran teacher protests.
“The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” will not be mentioned. The development of democratic government in Greece and the fall of the Roman Empire will be skipped. Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddha and Confucius are not to be found in the new curriculum. Great civilizations like ancient Egypt will no longer merit study, and the concept of feudalism will not be discussed.
The present 11th-grade U.S. history course covers the Exploration period to today. In the proposed changes, teachers will spend two or three weeks discussing the foundation of our country, with the remaining time devoted to studying events from 1876 to the present. Gone is any mention of the Louisiana Purchase or Lewis and Clark. There will be no discussion of Indian removal and the Trail of Tears.
The Civil War? Not in high school. The missing history topics are supposed to be covered, more or less, in fourth through seventh grade.
Though teachers supposedly have no time to discuss topics essential to understanding our heritage, the curriculum suggests they have their students write a 1920s radio drama. Teachers are also encouraged to assign essays about dating in the Jazz Age and to show segments from “All in the Family,” “Good Times” and “Chico and the Man.”
The state superintendent says the old curriculum tried to cover too many topics. The new standards allow deeper learning of fewer things.
Such as the role of Chico and the Man in late 20th century television.