In 2005, during Governor George Pataki’s administration, the New York State Legislature created the Amistad Commission to review the state’s curriculum about the slave trade.
“All people should know of and remember the human carnage and dehumanizing atrocities committed during the period of the African slave trade and slavery in America and consider the vestiges of slavery in this country,” the Amistad Commission website says. “It is vital to educate our citizens on these events, the legacy of slavery, the sad history of racism in this country, and on the principles of human rights and dignity in a civilized society.”
Unfortunately, the Amistad Commission’s effort to update the state’s slavery curriculum has been a failure. Continue reading
As the school year approaches, history teachers are looking for new classroom resources, especially primary sources for inquiry based lessons.
Many teachers want to make that local connection with their students who are sometimes unaware of the importance their area might have played in larger American History. There are a plethora of local sites and museums that are terrific jumping-off points for dynamic lessons, but I’d like to focus attention on a very useful site for educators, Hudson River Valley Heritage (HRVH). Continue reading
To the dismay of Minerva, NY’s high-profile educator Ella Lynch the struggle for quality American schooling continued through the 1920s, seemingly based on that wonderful definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.
The newest plan to fix an admittedly broken system was to add another grade: kindergarten. Continue reading
In 1922, Ella Lynch’s Bookless Lessons for the Teacher–Mother was published, offering help to those parents wishing to effectively teach their children.
At the time, big battles were brewing on that front. Attempts were under way to legislate rural schools out of existence and force centralization. Continue reading
Ella Frances Lynch – well spoken, thoughtful, and passionate in defining the problems with America’s public school system – refused to back down from proposed reforms. She was right and she knew it. Newspapers featured Ella’s editorials regularly, but the biggest attention-getter was a series of articles she wrote for Ladies Home Journal beginning in 1912. The title: “Is the Public School a Failure? It Is; the Most Momentous Failure in Our American life Today.”
Said Lynch, “Can you imagine a more grossly stupid, a more genuinely asinine system tenaciously persisted in to the fearful detriment of over 17 million children, and at a cost to you of over $403 million each year—a system that not only is absolutely ineffective in its results, but also actually harmful in that it throws each year 93 out of every 100 children into the world of action absolutely unfitted for even the simplest tasks of life? … The public school system is not something to be proud of, but a system that is today the shame of America.” Continue reading
The position of New York State Historian was created in 1895. The Historian was appointed by the Governor until 1911, when the position was moved to the State Education Department. Since that time, it has been located in a number of offices including the Office of State History (1966-1976), and since then, in the State Museum.
State Historians’ job descriptions and priorities have varied over the years as well. The first State Historian, Hugh Hastings (1895-1907), had been a New York Times reporter and concentrated on documentary publications. The next one, Victor Hugo Paltsits (1907-1911), a librarian and expert in colonial history, was known for meticulous editing of published editions and laid the basis for expanding the position into the area of archives. Alexander C. Flick (1923-1939) edited and led the publication of a multi-volume history of the state. Louis L. Tucker (1966-1976) held the titles of State Historian and Assistant Commissioner for State History in the Office of State History and, in the early 1970’s, was also Executive Director of the New York State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. Continue reading
Beginning here is the story of an unknown but truly remarkable woman, an educator from Adirondack history. But first, some related information is helpful for perspective. For starters, here’s a sampling of complaints about our educational system: low graduation rates; undeserved diplomas; graduates lacking in real-world skills; students woefully unprepared for college; students without self-discipline, and more. Those are all issues today, but the very same items were also cited in 1970.
Since that time, our spending on education has risen by about 85 percent, but we’ve improved very little, still stymied by the same problems. In the meantime, we’ve fallen far behind many other countries, while still spouting that we’re the greatest country in the world. If we don’t find the answers soon, the hollow ring of that claim might well become deafening. Continue reading
Educators and the public are invited to discover new and innovative ways to engage children and young people in the Hudson Valley region’s culture, history, and future at Teaching for Engagement in the Hudson Valley: The Next 100 Years Depend on It.
The conference will be held July 28-30 at the Henry A. Wallace Education and Visitors Center on the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park. Registration is required. Continue reading
The 2015 New York State Education Department/Office of Cultural Education Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core Conference will take place August 11 and 12, 2015. The Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core annual conference has a target audience of classroom teachers, school, public and academic librarians, public historians and representatives from museums, archives, public television, NYS historic sites, performing arts and other cultural institutions.
The purpose of the conference is to develop an understanding of the Common Core with the goal to create collaboration among classroom teachers and cultural institutions. Continue reading
The New York State Social Studies frameworks for grades K-8 place a greater emphasis than ever before on the history of the Dutch colonies in the Americas. Teachers and students are being asked to trace colonial history from New Netherland through to the English colonies and to recognize lasting Dutch contributions to American life and history.
But what is that history? And how can it best be taught? Continue reading
Fort Ticonderoga in Essex County, NY is now accepting applications from teachers to participate in the 2015 Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute, June 28 through July 3, 2015.
The focus of this year’s institute is “The French & Indian War: Ticonderoga at the Center of a Global Conflict” and will accommodate 12 teachers for a week-long exploration of the pivotal role that Ticonderoga and the Champlain-Hudson corridor played in the global contest for empire. Continue reading
From 1812 – when the New York state legislature authorized the formation of common schools to provide basic educational needs to a community’s students – through the early part of the 20th century, one room school houses made up the greatest part of the education system in Sullivan County.
In 1870, when the county had a population of 34,557, of which 13,635 were of school age, there were 198 school districts here. Those 198 districts employed 196 teachers, handling an average daily attendance of 4091 students. Most of those teachers were women. By 1939, there were 98 school districts in the county, and most had grown beyond the one room school-house. Still, women made up a significant part of the workforce needed to keep these districts running efficiently. Continue reading
Fort Ticonderoga will host the Seventh Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators on Friday, May 15, 2015, in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. This day-long conference, while intended for educators, is open to anyone with an interest in helping connect students with history.
The conference focuses on the period 1609-1783 and features presentations by classroom teachers, museum educators, and archivists. The conference precedes Fort Ticonderoga’s Twentieth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War, a weekend-long seminar focused on the French & Indian War (1754-1763). Continue reading
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor will again offer its school trip grant program, Ticket to Ride. The grant offers transportation and educational program funding for schools across New York State. By covering bus and tour fees, the program makes it possible for schools to take advantage of first-rate educational field trips to designated museums and historic sites throughout the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Continue reading
Alexander Hamilton is boffo at the box office. The heretofore unsung Founding Father best known for losing a duel is the subject of over two hours of song and dance in the new musical Hamilton. The Off-Broadway show is packing people in to rave reviews and reactions and is expected to move to Broadway this summer. Hamilton has become a bit of a phenomenon that has taken Manhattan by storm.
Hamilton also is of critical importance to health and future of this country. While that might seem like an over-the-top assertion, it isn’t. Continue reading
Fort Ticonderoga is launching the Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships for students seeking practical, hands-on internship experience at a historic site and museum.
The fellowships run from June 15 to August 15, 2015, and include internships in Collections, Exhibitions, Education, and Interpretation. Continue reading
The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands has announced that a $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to college bound high school seniors or college students from the Hudson Highlands region who have shown an interest in the history of the area and have demonstrated this interest through participation in related activities. Continue reading
Despite the death of founder Donald G. Carpentier, a full slate of workshops and symposia are scheduled for Eastfield Village during the summer of 2015. Under the aegis of the non-profit Historic Eastfield Foundation, the 39th Annual Series of Early American Trades and Historic Preservation Workshops will offer education and hands-on training at the unique restoration village located in East Nassau, New York.
Beginning in June and running through August, the workshops will appeal to a wide range of students, including homeowners looking to deal with issues concerning historic home maintenance and restoration, as well as tradesmen, craftsmen, and museum personnel seeking to advance their knowledge and skills. Continue reading
SUNY Adirondack and Open SUNY are offering an online course on New York State History for the 2015 Spring semester. You may register through either institution and you do not need to be a matriculated student.
The semester begins on January 20th and ends on May 8th. The course is a 200-level undergraduate course, but students may work at the graduate level. Continue reading
Just a few months after losing a re-election bid as county school commissioner, Ottilia Beha accepted a position in New York City, where she began teaching in 1903. By 1909, she had taught at several public schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, and had served as assistant principal at two facilities, gaining valuable experience.
In fall of that year, she was among 258 teachers to take the licensing exam for elementary school principal. Ottilia finished at the top of the group, leading to a promotion as principal of a Brooklyn school with 800 students and a staff of 19 employees. Continue reading