Only 20 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of eighth graders and 12 percent of high school seniors demonstrated proficiency on the nation wide American history exam!
"History advocates contend that students’ poor showing on the tests underlines neglect shown to the subject by federal and state policy makers, especially since the 2002 No Child Left Behind act began requiring schools to raise scores in math and reading but in no other subject. The federal accountability law, the advocates say, has given schools and teachers an incentive to spend less time on history and other subjects. 'History is very much being shortchanged,' said Linda K. Salvucci, a history professor in San Antonio who is chairwoman-elect of the National Council for History Education." From The New York Times article:
Because we feel that universal literacy is essential to a healthy democracy, and that there is a direct link between literacy, historical literacy, and civic engagement The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance published Our White House, Looking In, Looking Out to encourage and inspire young people to know more about their nation's history.
The Our White House book illustration above of George Washington looking out over the Potomac is by Bagram Ibatoulline. Below are more incredible illustrations from Our White House, art that will peek a young person's curiosity about American history.
An illustration of Thomas Jefferson in the first White House garden by S.D. Schindler makes Jefferson seem human and approachable.
This poignant portrait of Lincoln and his son by Chris Sheban illustrate a moving poem, In Early April, by Kate DiCamilllo.
A beautiful illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon of Mary Lincoln and her friend and seamstress Elizabeth Keckly in a inspiring story of their friendship by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack.
Illustrator Emily Arnold McCully show young people the very first White House protesters--suffragettes!
You will find these illustrations and many more inspiring paintings, poems, and real life stories about our nation's history in the NCBLA's multiple award-winning publication Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Ask for it at your local library or bookstore.and share it with the young people in your life. We are all responsible for educating our nation's youth!