Early American History could be a thing of the past

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Women's suffrage and the abolition of slavery -- we learned about these important American issues in high school history class.

Monday, the South Dakota Board of Education approved new guidelines that do no require high schools to teach U.S. history beginning next year.

Some college history professors are against the social studies requirement saying history has the chance to repeat itself if students are not taught early American history.

"I don't like it. My name is actually on the college professor's list that opposed them," said Michael Mullin, Augustana history professor.

Professor Mullin has been teaching f or 27 years. He says students who take a college history course such as 'American History Before 1877' will be overwhelmed.

"What we're going to get is students who don't differentiate, say, Abraham Lincoln's time period from George Washington's time period from the Puritans. And it will get lumped together and we'll wonder why

"I think progress helps our students prepare for the 21st Century. So rather than just having then memorize a list of historical events on a time line, we're trying to get them to use that information in context so that when they're looking at current events they can make good and informed decisions as citizens and as voters," said Michael Amolins, Harrisburg School District Secondary Curriculum Director.

Professor Mullin says early U.S. history is needed as a base to be a good citizen and to understand how we got to where we are today.

"History really isn't about yesterday. History is really about understanding today. And I think that what they forget that. They just want to think about today but without a context," said Professor Mullin.

Amolins says instructional techniques at the college level and the high school level are very different.

"Rather than just look at historical events as something that happened, we're trying to bring it into modern society," said Amolins.

Only time will tell if this change will help or hurt students.