The study of the American past has evolved over the last century. In the last 25 years, there has been a gradual but steadily growing emphasis on teaching students about the more troubling and sometimes hypocritical actions of our government, leaders and society, along with promoting the disciplinary skills of historians. The events of the past summer have opened an important dialogue on the role school history plays in systemic racism. The negligence of omitting African American history from local, state and national narratives in public education is vividly reflected in the current social and political environment today. We have much work to do in making history a more inclusive and substantive experience for our students and citizens.
The South Carolina Council for History Education believes that teachers and cultural institutions have the responsibility of fostering inquiry and citizenship through an honest and transparent evaluation of the past. We believe that our democracy is best served by providing a comprehensive look through documents and analysis of the significant, inspirational and in many instances challenging decisions in the American narrative.
Our democracy will thrive through encouraging students to grapple with the complexities of our nation’s history through critical analysis and independent thinking. Teaching “difficult” history and emphasizing the use of historical skills to let students make their own determinations of the past should be emphasized in the curriculum. SCCHE stands with teachers in educating students about the truth of our nation’s past to help them to become informed, civically engaged, citizens.