This United States mural is at an elementary school in Richmond Virginia down the street from where my parents live. I like how the states don't have political red or blue states, they are just colorful. Photo by Joshua Coleman on Unsplash

Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education

Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education is the AHA’s multistage effort to provide a research-based grounding for ongoing civic deliberations about the teaching of US history in American classrooms. The AHA seeks to cut through political caricatures of American history classrooms and pose a more direct question: What are American schoolchildren supposed to be taught about US history?

The Mapping project deploys a variety of sources and methods to describe how layers of decision-making at the state, district, and schoolhouse affect curriculum. The project combines appraisals of state-level standards and legislation in all 50 states with a deep-dive sample of nine states, where we fielded a survey with over 3,000 educators, interviewed hundreds more teachers and administrators, and collected curricular materials from vendors, districts, and teachers. The resulting report provides a clear and evidence-based picture of the 21st-century history education landscape.

The report will be released in fall 2024. Watch the AHA’s social media and email newsletters for Mapping announcements, including presentations of preliminary findings.

Past Events

What are Schoolchildren Learning About US History? Four Takeaways in Five Minutes

AHA research coordinator Nick Kryczka gave a 5-minute overview of the AHA's Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education initiative as part of the CivXNow Research and Best Practice Affinity Group Monthly Brownbag on March 20, 2024.

American Lesson Plan: Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education
AHA Learn Series
Thursday, March 14, 2 p.m. ET

Moderated by Katharina Matro (Walter Johnson High School and American Historical Assn.), this event features AHA researchers Nick Kryczka, Whit Barringer, and Scot McFarlane.

"What are schoolchildren being taught about our nation's history?!" Among education reformers and activists, the question raises alarm, often grounded in broad assumptions about the possibility for politics to shape what happens in the classroom. About two years ago, the American Historical Association decided to take the question more literally. In the multistage Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education project, an AHA research team set out to describe the contours of a vast and varied terrain—an empirical grounding for ongoing debates and deliberations about the teaching of the American past. After a year and a half of interviewing social studies administrators, surveying US history teachers, coding state legislation, and appraising district-level curricula, the team has some answers. In this session, the Mapping research team share their research from the field—and engage webinar participants in a discussion of how history's civic function in K–12 education is faring in a polarized moment.

Mapping in the Media