The Witness Stones Project is proud to join Connecticut historians, social studies professionals, and teachers in supporting the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies’ Statement on History and Social Studies Education in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Council‘s mission is to advocate and build capacity for high-quality social studies by providing leadership, services, and support to educators.
A STATEMENT ON HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES
EDUCATION IN CONNECTICUT
We are Connecticut historians, social studies professionals, and teachers, who steadfastly believe in the importance of history as a guiding and transformative way to understand our nation’s current political and cultural struggles.
We are committed to helping both students and the public grasp the immense value and difficulty of the American past.
We have grown increasingly dismayed in recent weeks as history has been used more as a political tool than a study of the past and a lesson for the future.
We are concerned that the political and cultural challenges to America’s democracy are causing some educators and schools to question the wisdom of engaging in political discussion, the presidential election, and other issues that are deemed controversial.
We know that history has never been more important than now, and we are committed to exploring our past with one another, our students, and the public.
We firmly believe that avoiding such conversations is a disservice to our students, the State of Connecticut, and the United States. Historical inquiry should be the core of who we are as a people.
We therefore express support for Connecticut’s history and social studies professionals and teachers, and pledge to stand by them in their efforts to educate our state’s youth.
We commit to the American Historical Association’s September 23, 2020 Statement, that offers, “To learn from our history we must confront it, understand it in all its messy complexity, and take responsibility as much for our failures as our accomplishments.”
We also support the National History Day belief that “The study of history demands critical assessments of previous actions, decisions, and movements, for good or ill. Recognizing the shortcomings of those who came before us is not anti-American, and teaching history is not an act in public relations. Our nation’s teachers and schools must not stop with stories of American successes and celebrations; change is impossible without challenge, and progress cannot be made without perspective.”
COMMITMENT TO CONNECTICUT’S HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES EDUCATORS
We pledge our support to all of Connecticut’s history and social studies educators in their effort to teach historical facts, assess evidence, and engage students in discussions about the past and how it informs the present.
We will work together to:
∙ provide support for our educators and the public in multiple ways;
∙ promote the importance of history/social studies inquiry among students, organizations, and the public
∙ launch a virtual program focused on the importance and value of history, inquiry, and civics;
∙ provide materials on teaching “hard history,” the political system, and the presidential elections;
∙ work with our outstanding libraries, historical societies, and other groups to connect our students with the vibrant community and ideas that exists in Connecticut and which are committed to exploring our past and future;
∙ and, aid in whatever way we can, the excellent educators that serve our State’s youth and citizenry on a daily basis.
Dr. David Blight, Professor of History, Yale University, Director, Gilder Lehrman Center
Dr. Mark Healy, Chairperson and Professor of History, University of Connecticut
Dr. John Day Tully, Department Chairperson and Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University
Dr. Alan Marcus, Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Connecticut
Dr. Martha May, Department Chairperson and Professor of History, Western Connecticut State University
Dr. Kate McGrath, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University
Dr. Glenn Mitoma, Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Education and Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Connecticut
Allison Norrie, Educator, Fairfield Warde High School, and Vice President, Association for the Study of Connecticut History
Dr. Jamel Ostwald, Chairperson and Professor of History, Eastern Connecticut State University.
Dr. Christine M. Petto, Chairperson and Professor of History, Chairperson of University Honors Thesis Committee, Southern Connecticut State University
Anthony Roy, President, Connecticut Council for the Social Studies, and Educator, Global Experience Magnet School, Bloomfield, CT
Thomas Thurston, Director of Education and Public Outreach, Gilder Lerhman Center, Yale University
Dr. Matthew Warshauer, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University
Dr. David Bosso, Educator, Berlin High School; Past President, Connecticut Council for the Social Studies; 2012 Connecticut Teacher of the Year
Dennis Culliton, Executive Director of the Witness Stones Project and retired History Teacher from Guilford
Alex Schwartz, Educator, Farmington Public Schools
Donald R. Schels, Assoc. Principal, Wilton High School
Joe O’Brien, Western Middle School, Greenwich, CT
Shannon Andros, History Teacher, Norwich Free Academy
Nicole Catuccio, Social Studies Teacher, Enfield High School
Ellen Swider, Assistant Professor and Certified History and Social Studies educator, Goodwin University
Carmen Coury, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, Southern Connecticut State University
Steve Amerman, Professor of History, Southern Connecticut State University
Dr. Virginia Metaxas, Professor Emerita of History and Women’s Studies, Southern Connecticut State University
Jason W. Smith, Assistant Professor of American History, Southern Connecticut State University
Troy R. E. Paddock, Ph.D., Professor of Modern European History, Southern Connecticut State University
Connecticut Council for the Social Studies
The Witness Stones Project