Advocacy Briefs: Action on "Campus Carry," Oral History, and K–12 History Education

AHA Staff | Jan 1, 2016

In November, the American Historical Association joined 28 other scholarly societies in opposing legislation designed to facilitate the carrying of guns on campus. The Association encourages its members in any state considering such legislation to bring the perspective of historians and educators to the debate. (The complete statement and list of signatories is available online under News and Advocacy.)

The Research Division of the AHA Council also issued a Public Statement on Oral History and Human Subjects Regulation in November. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to ethical historical inquiry, the AHA has been on the front lines of scholars’ efforts to urge the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to exempt oral history from institutional review board screening. The AHA strongly supports HHS’s recent proposal to exclude oral history from the scrutiny devoted to other areas of human subject research. (See News and Advocacy for the complete statement.)

In December, the Association issued a legislative “action alert” to encourage members to contact their congressional representatives to urge them to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Replacing the controversial No Child Left Behind Act, the new law—the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—restores funding for history and civics education, slashed to zero by Congress five years ago.

The ESSA passed the House and Senate by lopsided majorities, a much-needed boon for K–12 history and civics education. President Obama signed the bill on December 10, 2015. The AHA thanks its members for responding.

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