Why does history matter? Despite the public events of recent months and years, too many Americans – particularly young people – believe that history isn’t relevant to their interests or their futures. At a time when all should be thinking like historians, too few see the value and need in learning history.
In 2019, the Driving Force Institute launched an initiative to make the teaching and learning of history more interesting. Through a series of provocative, short-form videos, DFI’s “Untold History” shares stories of the people, the events, and artifacts that are essential to our nation’s story, but are too often not taught in a K-12 survey history course.
As we prepare to celebrate July 4th, DFI is launching a new initiative, Why History Matters, to help educators and learners better explain why history learning is so important. This effort has been created in honor of Walter W, Buckley, Jr, an integral part of DFI and a passionate advocate for American history. As part of this work, DFI is soliciting short essays, videos, and podcasts from leading historians, American history experts, and educators from across the country explaining why it is both important and necessary to learn of our nation’s history.
These essays will also be provided to K-12 teachers across the country as a tool to inspire their students to learn about the history of the United States and to demonstrate why the teaching and learning of American history is so important to our nation’s strength.
Educators are asked to reflect on a number of questions DFI has heard through its years of research with teachers and secondary school students across the United States, including:
- What do you say to those who think history is irrelevant? Why does it indeed matter?
- We, like you, believe that American history knowledge is important, relevant mandatory critical. In your own words, why is this the case?
- What is the single most important issue in American history that every person should study and understand?
- What ways could we improve the teaching of American history? How can we support educators in making these changes.
All educators interested in sharing their thoughts on the these or related questions are encouraged to submit their essays to firstname.lastname@example.org. Financial stipends are available for those participate in multiple components (an essay and appearing on the new podcast) of this effort. Any questions should be directed to email@example.com.
– P. Riccards