Harford County Board Of Education Adopts New U.S. History And Social Sciences Curriculum


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HARFORD COUNTY - The Harford County Board of Education is implementing a new curriculum for high school U.S. history and social sciences in first to third-grade classrooms.

The new framework focuses on the six state social studies standards: Civics, Peoples of the Nations and World, Geography, Economics, and History, Skills and Processes (College, Career, and Civic Life Framework).

Educators from across Maryland met throughout the 2018-2019 academic year to consider how to teach history to a new generation of students. In 2020, the Maryland State Department of Education approved the new frameworks, forcing counties across the state to adapt.

The HCPS Office of Social Sciences facilitated professional development throughout the 2021-22 academic year to acquaint U.S. history teachers with new content and teaching methods. By summer 2022, the revisions were finalized, with pilot status given to all HCPS high schools for the 2022-23 school year. The updated U.S. history curriculum allows for the inclusion of more recent history and a broader range of perspectives.

At Monday's Harford County Board of Education meeting, Board members Diane Alvarez and Melissa Hahn sought to delay the decision on the new history curriculum approval. Hahn voiced concern over the curriculum's starting point in 1877, arguing it omits significant early historical events.

"It is our job to teach everything: the good, bad, and the ugly. The history of the United States is an accumulation of every event that has happened up to this point, and we can't erase it. We must teach all of history," Hahn said.

Erin Lang, the supervisor of social sciences for the school system, explained that these events are covered in other grades. "The framework picks up where history in grade eight left off," Lang responded. According to Lang, the school system risks losing state funding if it fails to adopt curricula aligned with state-approved frameworks. He also noted that the framework can still be modified following approval.

Despite concerns from Alvarez and Hahn, the new curriculum was passed with a majority board vote, with only Hahn voting against it.

The next meeting of the Harford County Board of Education is scheduled for July 17 at 6:30 p.m.

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