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AHA Announcements, From the Executive Director's Desk

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AHA Initiatives & Projects, Professional Life, Teaching & Learning

The new year marks the opening of sessions in state legislatures across the country. Until recently, this meant little to the work of the AHA. Over the past three years, however, legislatures have been considering laws that undermine the integrity of history/social studies education in public schools or take aim at tenure in higher education, along with closely related issues of academic freedom. The AHA monitors this legislative activity, with help from members, and from collaborating organizations such as PEN America and the AAUP. After consultation with some combination of knowledgeable members and contacts in other organizations, we write to individual legislators and mobilize members to contact their representatives. More recently we’ve published op-eds in newspapers in these states, and worked with more organizations (e.g. ACLS) to publicize this activity among their constituencies.

Our most recent letter, to legislators in Nebraska, is here.

AHA staff members Kat Brausch and Julia Brookins have aptly described this work in Perspectives on History. Please contact us if there is activity in your state that we should know about. When possible, we also write to local boards of education as well.

I write on Lincoln’s birthday, February 12. This expansion of the AHA’s promotion of history, historical work, and historical thinking, brings to mind my column in Perspectives on the occasion of that commemoration in 2011, soon after my arrival in Washington.

-Jim Grossman