2007-12-21 / Community

Klein Accepts Textbooks,Sets Social Studies Curriculum

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein recently accepted a donation of 2,000 copies of David McCullough's "1776: The Illustrated Edition." The books, which were a gift from Simon & Schuster, HBO, and Janklow & Nesbit Associates, will be sent to New York City's public middle and high schools, where they will supplement the Department of Education's social studies core curriculum. Chancellor Klein announced the gift at M.S. 51 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was joined by David McCullough, approximately 100 social studies teachers from across the city, and M.S. 51 Principal Lenore DiLeo- Berner.

"New York City has a fascinating history- as does our country. Today, we are giving our educators and our students the chance to learn more about our history. And we are preparing to bring stronger standards and coherence to social studies instruction throughout our school system," Chancellor Klein said. "I'd like to thank David McCullough, Simon & Schuster, HBO, and Janklow & Nesbit Associates for their generous donation. I look forward to working with teachers and principals across the City to help our schools offer high-quality programs that enable all students to excel in social studies."

"I'm thrilled that the 'Illustrated 1776' is soon to be in the hands of so many students and teachers in New York, here where so much of the struggle for American independence took place. Let us never forget that we all walk historic ground in this greatest of our cities. The history of New York is in many, vivid ways emblematic of the history of our country. What happened here in 1776 was one of the most extraordinary turn of events in the Revolutionary War and had consequences of almost immeasurable importance," McCullough said. "How very grateful I am to Simon & Schuster, HBO, and Janklow & Nesbit for such notable generosity in helping to make that story part of the education provided by the people of New York for its oncoming generations."

McCullough, a champion of learning about history, took questions from social studies teachers and M.S. 51 students. "1776: The Illustrated Edition," which was recently released by Simon & Schuster, combines eighteenth-century paintings, sketches, rare documents, and maps with McCullough's historical narrative. The book helps bring to life George Washington, British commanders, American Loyalists, traitors, spies, and others figures in the Revolutionary War era.

In fall 2008, the Department of Education will begin implementing a new core curriculum in social studies for students in kindergarten through the eighth grade. The curriculum will ensure that students receive instruction in history, government, geography, and economics as they move through elementary and middle school. In the earliest grades, students will learn about their own communities. Later in elementary school, students will focus their study on New York City, New York State, the United States, and world history and cultures. Middle school students will study the Eastern Hemisphere and students in grades 7 and 8 will undertake a twoyear course of study on American history.

The DOE issued a request for information and a request for materials for the new curriculum in October. Teams of teachers and administrators with social studies expertise will conduct extensive reviews of materials before the DOE chooses the specific books, primary source documents, and maps that will be included in the new core curriculum. The department will provide details of the new curriculum this spring, at which time schools will be able to purchase materials. Materials will be available in both English and Spanish.

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