In Teaching History Then and Now, Larry Cuban explores the teaching of history in American high schools during the past half-century. Drawing on his early career experience as a high school history educator and his more recent work as a historian of US education policy and practice, Cuban examines how determined reformers have and have not changed the teaching of history.
The book focuses on two high schools-Cleveland's Glenville High School and Washington DC's Cardozo High School-examining both throughout the 1950s and 1960s and then at the present time. Adding to this complex portrait are fascinating accounts of the major reform movements in history teaching over the last half-century: the New Social Studies of the 1960s and the New History of the 1990s. Uniting this nationwide history of the field with his own recollections of and research on the featured high schools, Cuban creates a rich, detailed portrait of an important, contested high school field characterized by enduring features and significant change.
The result is exemplary education research, capturing the gritty facts of classroom practice and the larger currents of policy, institutional, and national change. Cuban identifies how large reforms have influenced-and sometimes failed to affect-classroom practice. Teaching History Then and Now portrays a complex, often unpredictable process whereby reformers, school leaders, policy makers, and teachers have all struggled to make the teaching of history best serve students, their communities, and the nation.