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January 29, 2024

From Marginalized to Mainstream: History Curriculum Evolution

PEZ Presidents display

Many history teachers at Camas High School (CHS) have taught for ten or more years. There have been events in history over the years that have changed how the curriculum is taught, as certain things have become controversial but should still be remembered in history. 

The curriculum has changed throughout the years but primarily concerns societal movements and how they have shifted. 

Malcolm X in a window display

Starting from the early 1900s, textbooks used were not very diverse and were written by people who won wars, which swayed certain opinions and recollections of what truly happened in history. Although, biases in textbooks have improved over the years. Inclusivity has been added to teaching so students can get the entire viewpoint of all perspectives.

“I feel like [the curriculum] is more inclusive, and thank goodness for that, because otherwise we wouldn’t be reading as much about women and people of different ethnic backgrounds,” World History teacher Jeanne Jarvis said.

The curriculum still needs improvement as certain things can be more thoroughly explained.

“I think there are some things that we can expand on and see from more perspectives,” junior Addie Stewart said. “I know that it’s hard given the amount of time we have during a school year, but I think if we focus on some things that could be more important to today’s world, history could be much more informative.” 

CHS is lucky to have excellent history teachers who are very considerate of their students when teaching specific sensitive topics in history. 

Historical display outside of Samuel Greene’s classroom

“I have enjoyed the history teachers I’ve had, and I think that they elaborate well on some other good topics,” Stewart said. 

Bronk Williams, a history teacher at CHS, has not seen a significant change in the curriculum but in his teaching.

“I would say that when COVID hit, I had a chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do with World History, and that was teaching it thematically, not chronologically,” Williams said.

The history curriculum can be controversial to teach due to certain events that have happened in the past, but history teachers do an excellent job of discussing topics. 

Teachers are continuously hoping to improve their teaching for students and themselves. Despite little change to the history curriculum, teachers have become more mindful of the different perspectives of the past and highlighting them. However, educators want students to know that although the way it is taught has evolved, the past remains unchanged.

“History is still history, Washington was still the first president,” Williams said.

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Sophie Holtcamp, Copy Editor

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