NAEP study on history education, Why don't kids/children like history?

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Press Room:  NAEP Release

Heidi Kay, (727) 786-3580

Why History’s a Mystery 
Award-winning teacher explains results of the nation’s report card

(PALM HARBOR, Flor.)  According to the results of the U.S. Education Department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress released May 9, nearly six in 10 of the nation’s high school seniors know neither the basic facts of U.S. History nor understand their importance. Why?

“The report is going to cite several valid reasons for why our children don’t understand even the basic premise of historical events,” says Alan N. Kay, a veteran history teacher. “But the underlying cause as to why they don’t know this information is because we have failed to make
it an important issue.”

The NAEP, known as the nation’s “report card,” shows that 57 percent of high school seniors could not perform at even the most basic level of knowledge; these results are nearly the same as when the first NAEP test was given in 1994. The test, given to 29,000 fourth, eighth and 12th graders at 110 public and private schools, shows that scores were worse in American History than in any other subject.

According to Kay, American history educators focus too much on what should be taught, on defining just what should be considered ‘history.’ Instead of placing emphasis on facts and figures, Kay believes history should be made relevant to today’s society.

“Take a look at the events of September 11,” says Kay. “In the future, what was once the most dramatic, life-altering event of the 21st Century will be reduced to nothing more than a few emotionless lines on a page. How can we expect our kids to learn when even the most extraordinary events are boring?”

As a guest, Kay can discuss:

  • A teacher’s perspective on our nation’s problems with history education
  • Why and how current textbooks should be replaced
  • Why determining what exactly should be taught as history is difficult
  • How to making teaching history educational and fun
  • Why this underscores the need for new education laws implementing stricter testing and parental control in schools

Kay is the author of The Young Heroes of History, a historical fiction series for young adults. The series seeks to teach its readers important lessons from the Civil War while also showing that events in history are interesting and fun. Writing the books as an alternative to dull, dry textbooks, Kay created the collection to excite kids about learning.

Kay is the recipient of the 2002 Daughters of the American Revolution Florida Teacher of the Year award and the 2001 Florida History Fair Teacher of the Year. Kay has also developed award-winning curriculum for teachers and given many workshops on education topics such as using historical fiction in the classroom and how to participate in National History Day.  For more information, visit:

For more information on The Young Heroes of History series or to schedule an 
interview with Kay, please call 
Heidi Kay, (727) 786-3580  
or send an e-mail to
PR at Young Heroes of History