Monday, May 16, 2011

TAH Program Endangered Again - Please Act!

It has been a roller coaster few weeks for the Teaching American History grant program. Last month, after a long fight, the House and Senate agreed to include the program in the compromise budget--though they reduced the program from $119 million in fiscal 2010 to $46 million in the current budget year.

It was an awful hit for the only federal program specifically devoted to history education., but TAH supporters drew comfort from the fact that we saved the program from simply being zeroed out. The hope was that if we can save a line item, no matter how small, we can work on increasing the amount when the economy recovers. We are not out of the woods yet, however. As they put together the 2012 budget, Congress is again on the verge of eliminating the program with House Bill 1891. An action alert from the National Council for Public History today tells the story:
Urge Your Member of Congress to Save Teaching American History Grants Take Action

Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would eliminate the Teaching American History (TAH) grants program at the U.S. Department of Education. NCPH and the National Coalition for History urge you to contact your Member of Congress immediately to oppose this bill.  H.R. 1891, the "Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act," would terminate forty-three K-12 federal education programs. 

The President's fiscal year 2012 budget request for the Department of Education would eliminate Teaching American History grants (TAH) as a separately funded program. However, the Administration proposed consolidating history education into a new program called Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education. This reflects the President's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization proposal, the Blueprint for Reform, which was released in March 2010.

Teaching American History grants is the only federal program that funds K-12 history education. Its elimination would exacerbate the problem of local school districts de-emphasizing history in their curriculum because it is not the focus of high-stakes testing. 

The House Education and the Workforce Committee is expected to consider H.R. 1891 at any time. It is important that you contact your Member of the House of Representatives TODAY, to urge them to oppose this bill.

The National Coalition for History is working with the National Humanities Alliance, which has set up a template message for you to customize. We strongly encourage you to personalize this message by telling Congress why TAH programs are important to you, your institution, your field, your state, and/or district. 

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