HM - May 2019 - New Jersey Council Spotlight
State Council Spotlight
The New Jersey Council for History Education
By Greg Matlosz
NJCHE Vice President
While planning the 27th annual conference, the NJCHE is continuing to expand into the areas of need: elementary and middle school history education. The call for help in elementary history education has largely been ignored by school leaders and organizations due to a heavy focus on mathematics and language arts towards state assessments. In 2015, the NJCHE decided to change that. At first, summer seminars were utilized to bring elementary and middle school teachers to vertically articulate (sequence and continuity to improve a teacher's and student's knowledge on a given subject) their needs within history. From there, the NJCHE expanded this experience to round table meetings where elementary educators had the opportunity to discuss what social studies programs and lessons have worked for them. The NJCHE felt the need to incorporate at least one speaker during these meetings, e.g., representative from the Library of Congress, to provide hope and support that, yes, an elementary teacher has the resources and tools they need to infuse history education into their language arts lessons, especially, when there is a lack of time in a school's schedule. The elementary round table meetings have evolved into a travelling professional development opportunity. Basically, the NJCHE will come to your school to provide the tools and resources to ensure success in your classroom. On May 30, The NJCHE will be in Jefferson Township, NJ. The DBQ Project is scheduled to present their elementary DBQ series.
The NJCHE is in the early stages of establishing a middle school history education conference. The concept will consist of a content-based practice, like the Princeton Conference, but will also break out into sessions where middle school educators will have the opportunity to discuss that content with professors, presenters, and colleagues. The need for research-based skills is critical for a student. With conferences and round table meetings, educators can gain the tools they need to provide these skills for their classes. The majority of New Jersey's middle school's standards focus on world history. The NJCHE is seeking to bring professors of world history and middle school teachers into the same room for the simple purpose of sparking the light of history education for all students.
The NJCHE is currently planning its 27th Annual Conference at Princeton on the theme of freedom and slavery. We will open the conference with Andrew Delbanco, Professor of American Studies at Columbia University. He will discuss topics from his latest book, The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War. Immediately following will be Eric Foner who will discuss constitutional amendments from his forthcoming book The Second Founding. Our final session will be quite different. We will focus on topics dealing with freedom and the Middle East and it will be called "A Conversation with General David Petraeus" Jennifer Keene (Chapman University), military historian, will serve as the interviewer for General Petraeus.
Photos from the 2018 Princeton Conference:
Left: Richard White (Standford University)
Right: David Greenberg (Rutgers University)