David Boren Announces Plans to Strengthen National American History Education

MAKING HISTORY: Students from Fischer Elementary School in Moore, Okla. with University of Oklahoma President David Boren and their teacher Teresa Potter. The students performed the Bill of Rights Rap at Colonial Day at the Oklahoma Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITYUniversity of Oklahoma President David Boren today announced he will work to launch a national campaign in partnership with the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (OFE), Colonial Williamsburg, Mount Vernon and other national history organizations to strengthen the teaching of early American history to students in schools across the U.S.

“A nation that does not know how it became great will not remain great,” said Boren, who is founder and chairman of OFE. “It is my hope that through a nationwide campaign, educators across America will understand the importance of teaching American history to their students.”

The announcement took place during OFE’s Colonial Day at the Capitol, where 500 Oklahoma students gathered to learn about and participate in activities related to Colonial America. A group of students dressed in Colonial attire performed their own version of a “Bill of Rights Rap” during the event to show the importance of keeping history alive with current generations of young Americans.

Boren also announced that OFE is encouraging schools statewide to create Community Colonial Day events. To support this effort, the foundation has created a Community Colonial Day Web site at www.colonialday.org

In addition, Boren said that one of the goals of OFE is to have every Oklahoma school district participate in the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Emmy award-winning Electronic Field Trips, which bring early American history to life through a series of live television broadcasts and interactive online activities for students.

“In a time when school budgets are tight, the Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips subscriptions give teachers an opportunity to bring Williamsburg’s history and rich learning resources into their classrooms,” said Christa Rice, a fifth-grade teacher at Jenks East Intermediate School. “The interactive, online activities capture the interest of our students in ways that only technology can.”

Grants for the Electronic Field Trip series, valued at $500 each, are administered by OFE. For more information on the series, visithttp://www.history.org/trips/.

Joining Boren for the announcement were Bill White, director of educational program development for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and Nancy Hayward, assistant director of education and director of programs for George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

“We are proud to partner with the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence,” White said. “Under the visionary leadership of individuals like David Boren,Oklahoma is serving as a national model for American history education.”  

About the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence

The mission of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (OFE) is to recognize and encourage academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Founded in 1985 by then-U.S. Senator David Boren, OFE consists of Oklahoma business and community leaders united in the common goal of improving public education in the state. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization supported by private contributions. For more information, visit www.ofe.org.

Updated 02-05-2010

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