Teaching The First World War In Schools Is Topic For Pioneer History Forum

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Event to feature Pulitzer Prize winner, celebrated Pres. Wilson biographer, noted historians, and high school teachers

BOSTON – A Pulitzer Prize winner and a finalist will each deliver keynote addresses at “The War to End All Wars: Teaching the First World War in Schools,” a Pioneer Institute forum to be held as part of the 47th Northeast Regional Conference on the Social Studies on Tuesday, April 4th, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston.

The forum commemorates the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into World War I.  In April 1917, Congress declared war on Germany.

David Kennedy, the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Emeritus at Stanford University, will deliver the first keynote.  Professor Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2000 for Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945.  He also wrote, Over Here: The First World War and American Society. In 1988 he was a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The second keynote will be delivered by John Milton Cooper, Jr., the E. Gordon Fox Professor Emeritus of American Institutions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He is the author of multiple books about Woodrow Wilson, including Woodrow Wilson: A Biography, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.

After questions and answers from the audience, a panel discussion will be moderated by Michael Neiberg, the inaugural Chair of War Studies at the United States War College’s Department of National Security and Strategy.  The Wall Street Journal named his book, Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I, one of the five best books written about the war.

The panel will include Andrew Carroll, who is the Founder and Director of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University, editor of several New York Times bestsellers, and author of My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War, being released on the same date as the forum; and White House Historical Association Chief Historian Edward Lengel, author of To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918.

Additional panelists include two Massachusetts public school history teachers.  Kelley Brown teaches history and social studies at Easthampton High School, and was the Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year in 2010.  Clara Webb teaches European and world history at Boston Latin School, and is an A.P. European History Table Leader for the College Board.

There will be another question and answer period following the panel.

Welcoming remarks will be delivered by Tom Birmingham, Pioneer’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Education, former Massachusetts Senate President, and one of the architects of the landmark 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act.

The event is co-sponsored by the United States World War I Centennial Commission, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the International Museum of World War II, The Concord Review, the National Association of Scholars, and the Program on Education Policy & Governance at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Following the event, Andrew Carroll, John Milton Cooper, Jr., David Kennedy, Edward Lengel, and Michael Neiberg will be available to sign copies of their books.

“This forum is the latest in a series about how seminal events in American history should be taught in public schools,” said Jamie Gass, Director of the Center for School Reform. “Pioneer believes that a grounding in U.S. History is essential for all Massachusetts students to participate in our country’s civic life and institutions.”

Given that the Bay State’s nation-leading U.S. History standards have never been fully implemented or connected with a state test, the commonwealth’s history standards review committee should make minimal changes to the academic substance of the standards and move quickly to implement and test these standards as a high school graduation requirement.

Earlier Pioneer forums featured a number of Pulitzer Prize winners and noted historians on topics such as the Founding era and slavery, Jacksonian Democracy, the Civil War, World War II, the Cold War, Women’s history, the history of American business & labor, and the Civil Rights era.

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.