Committee Of Seven Essay

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The Committee of Seven’s (1896–1899) report, titled The Study of History in Schools: Report to the American Historical Association by the Committee of Seven, had a significant and lasting impact on the practice of history and social education in American schools. Concerned about the status of historical studies in secondary education, August F. Nightingale, Chairman of the National Education Association’s Committee on College Entrance Requirements, asked historians at the 1896 meeting of the American

Historical Association to provide a report detailing the practice of teaching history in American schools. As its charter, the committee planned to make recommendations about the teaching of history and to foster more uniformity in secondary school history.

A committee was appointed, and to make an accurate evaluation, they conducted a nationwide survey of the subject of history in schools, analyzed the resultant data, and made appropriate recommendations based upon the social science findings. The Committee of Seven considered the scope and sequence of history offerings in secondary schools and suggested college entrance requirements. The report recommended a four-year course of study that included ancient history, medieval and modern European history, English history, American history, and civil government. The report also proposed that amount of time students engaged in historical studies increase and supported a broadened conception of citizenship. The report had a lasting impact upon historical studies in secondary schools, as a four-year course of study remains typical of many curriculum offerings.

Members of the committee, all members of the American Historical Association, were: Andrew McLaughlin (chairman), Herbert B. Adams, George L. Fox, Albert Bushnell Hart, Charles H. Haskins, H. Morse Stephens, and Lucy M. Salmon. Six members were prominent historians. George L. Fox, Headmaster of the Hopkins Grammar School in New Haven, Connecticut, was the only individual practicing in a secondary school. The only woman on the committee, Lucy Maynard Salmon, was chair of the history department at Vassar College.

Bibliography:

  1. Bohan, C. H. (2004). Early vanguards of progressive education: The Committee of Ten, the Committee of Seven, and social education. In C. Woyshner, J. Watras, & M. Crocco (Eds.), Social education in the twentieth century: Curriculum and context for citizenship (pp. 1–19). New York: Peter Lang.

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