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UW-Eau Claire, Partners Continue Serving
History Teachers with $1.67 Million Grant

RELEASED: July 29, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — Over the next three years, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will continue a longtime partnership with Cooperative Educational Service Agency 10 and the Chippewa Valley Museum to help Wisconsin educators become more effective teachers of American history.

CESA 10 recently received a grant of $1.67 million from the U.S. Department of Education's Teaching American History program to continue providing free history education for K-12 teachers in partnership with the UW-Eau Claire history department and the Chippewa Valley Museum. The grant is the fourth awarded to the partners by the Teaching American History program since 2002.

"Out of the nearly $1 billion that Congress has appropriated for this program since 2000, more than $5 million has been granted to the three partners," said Dr. James Oberly, a UW-Eau Claire professor of history who helped write the most recent grant and will be among the university faculty members providing instruction in the new teacher education program.

Previous Teaching American History grants received by the UW-Eau Claire/Chippewa Valley Museum/CESA 10 partnership included $1 million in 2002, $1 million in 2004 and $1.5 million in 2006.

The "definition and redefinition of rights in American history" will be the focus of the new three-year program for teachers of students in grades kindergarten through 12, Oberly said.

"The Declaration of Independence enumerated some of the rights for all people; however, in practice, the Constitution included some people but excluded most adults — women, slaves, Native Americans," Oberly said. "Access to rights expanded considerably during the Civil War and Reconstruction Era but also contracted between 1877 and, say, 1918. Rights once again expanded, unevenly, in the 20th century for women, Native Americans and African Americans."

Teachers in Wisconsin's CESA districts 3 through 12 are eligible to apply to participate in the program, which begins in 2010 and will include three years of summer institutes preceded by required online reading and discussions each winter and spring, as well as smaller workshops during the school year. Forty K-12 teachers will be accepted to participate in the program each year and will have the option of receiving continuing education or graduate credits upon program completion.

UW-Eau Claire history faculty will provide the "subject matter teaching" during the summer institutes and school year workshops, Oberly said. Faculty members who will be invited to teach at some point during the three-year program include Dr. Oscar Chamberlain, Dr. Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, Dr. Robert Gough, Dr. John Mann, Oberly, Dr. Jane Pederson and Dr. Richard St. Germaine.

Chippewa Valley Museum staff will provide instruction to program participants about engaging in active learning projects with their students. Museum Director Susan McLeod served as the lead writer and is the principal investigator for the most recent Teaching American History grant. CESA 10, which by law must be the fiscal agent and formal recipient of the Teaching American History grants, also is responsible for recruiting the teacher-participants.

Oberly said the recent $1.67 million grant allows the three partners to continue their work in support of the intent of the U.S. Congress.

"Congress authorized and reauthorizes the Teaching American History program annually because it believes that all American public school students should learn U.S. history from the best-trained teachers," he said.

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JP/DW

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