Simon Bolivar? Hernando Cortez? Kids donâ€™t know.
— reported by HispanicAd.com
A new Fordham Institute study says two-thirds of the states donâ€™t make the grade when it comes to standards for instruction in world history, but states received their lowest marks for weak or non-existent standards for the teaching of the history and culture of Latin America and Mexico.
The study, by renowned historian Walter Russell Mead, is the first ever conducted of statesâ€™ academic standards for teaching K-12 world history. Saying he was â€œaghast at how poorly written and organizedâ€ are most statesâ€™ world history standards, Meadâ€™s report reserves especially harsh criticism for the lack of effective standards for instruction in the history and culture of the Western Hemisphere.
â€œThe United States did $409 billion in trade with Latin America and Mexico in 2004 alone, and the Hispanic population is growing exponentially,â€ noted Michael Petrilli, the Instituteâ€™s Vice President for National Programs and Policy. â€œWe are an increasingly â€˜Latinizedâ€™ culture, where a working knowledge of the rich history of Latin America and Mexico will soon be indispensable to this generation of young Americans â€“ socially, politically, economically and culturally,â€
Nonetheless, on a scale of â€œzeroâ€ to â€œ10,â€ four states (Alaska, Idaho, Missouri and Montana) received a grade of â€œz eroâ€ for maintaining standards that pay only â€œsuperficial or cursory attentionâ€ to Mexico and the Western Hemisphere. Another 30 states â€“ including Hispanic population centers like Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Texas — received grades of â€œ2â€ through â€œ5â€ for standards that address Mexico and Latin America, but with â€œsignificant gaps or shortcomingsâ€ in their approaches.