History Professor at Cal State Long Beach Receives $35,807
Grant to Support Work with Local School Districts in Teaching World History
Donald Schwartz, a history professor at CSULB, has received a $35,807 grant
from the University of California Office of the President’s (UCOP) No
Child Left Behind Technical Assistance and Support Program to support his
work with area school districts and their teachers in the teaching of world
history over the next year.
“This grant is important because, unlike the $1.9 million in funding
we have received in Teaching American History grants to support instruction
in the Garden Grove and Compton unified school districts, it deals with world
history,” Schwartz pointed out. “The way to improve student understanding
of world history is to improve teacher understanding. This funding will help
support both content and pedagogy.”
Francine Curtis, site director for the California History Social Science Project
(CHSSP), worked with Schwartz and Ken Curtis, also a CSULB history professor,
to obtain the UCOP grant.
“This is money sent to the states from the U.S. Department of Education,”
she explained. “It goes to the universities to guarantee professional
development. This current funding supports world history programming, which
has suffered in recent budget crunches.
“It also reflects a vote of confidence in the California History Social
Science Project, which is unusual and nationally noted in its ability to have
scholars and teacher leaders work together,” she added. “The scholars
do the content presentations to area educators and the teacher leaders do
the classroom application. We’re very unusual in having these collaborative
The CHSSP is a professional development provider focused on helping teachers
and school districts develop standards-based history content and pedagogical
applications to improve the achievement of all students. In recent years,
the project has placed a special emphasis on training in embedding content
area literacy into standards-based instruction.
“I think one reason for our recognition with this funding is that the
CSULB History Department has been seen as a leader in K-16 collaboration,”
Schwartz said. “President Maxson made this support a top priority when
he joined the university and it has paid off. We have been recognized because
of our history of collaboration with surrounding school districts and as one
of those universities that has been successful in breaking down artificial
walls that separate university faculty from classroom teachers.”
Teaching world history at the sixth-, seventh- and 10th-grade levels has suffered
in recent years because of budget cuts, and both Schwartz and Curtis see the
new funding as a step in the right direction.
“Teachers at the sixth-, seventh- and 10th-grade levels are not as well
prepared to teach world history as they are to teach American history and
this grant will help specifically in that area,” Schwartz stated.
Curtis has seen the grants make a difference. “I’ve seen the changes
in the Long Beach Unified School District where I have taught,” she
said. “Professional development works.”