New K-12 Social Studies Recommendations Prioritize Iowa History

Sep 6, 2016

The Iowa History Advisory Council has released a new set recommendations for K-12 social studies education, aimed at improving Iowa history education across the state.

Tom Morain of the Iowa History Advisory Council told a group of fourth and fifth grade students at Des Moines’ Jackson Elementary School these new recommendations will make history “come to life.”

"You're going to get to go to places where history happened," says Morain. "That's going to be a whole new way of experience what history is."

The recommendations come with no additional funding. They do coincide with a $100,000 grant from the Library of Congress to help the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs digitize primary source materials, which the department says will be available to classrooms. 

The new recommendations include the following 11 directives:

  • Develop recognition programs to celebrate Iowa history and awards that recognize outstanding Iowa history teaching.
  • Investigate developing online Iowa history courses for high school and college students as well as K-12 social studies teachers.
  • Create a variety of Iowa history curriculum materials that support new Iowa history standards and promote best practices in the teaching and learning of state and local history.
  • Recognize the importance of a state historian to tell Iowa’s story and advocate for Iowa history in K-12 schools.
  • Encourage Iowa public and private colleges and universities to offer Iowa history classes and create professorships whose focus is Iowa history.
  • Encourage educator preparation programs at Iowa public and private colleges and universities to require content in the field of Iowa history.
  • Investigate greater accountability measures for the teaching of Iowa history and social studies in K-12 schools.
  • Ensure adequate staffing within the education department of the State Historical Society of Iowa.
  • Create and sustain a website to serve as the “hub” for Iowa history resources.
  • Coordinate and promote professional development opportunities in Iowa history for Iowa teachers through the area education agencies, Iowa cultural partners, and higher education.
  • Ensure the IHAC continues to meet in order to promote the teaching and learning of Iowa history at the K-12 level.