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The standards that exist for teaching Jewish history in California high schools is limited. Jewish history is discussed throughout periodically (birth of the religion in 6th grade; Crusades and Scientific Revolution in 7th grade; and World War II and creation of the State of Israel in 10th grade). In reality, the Jewish history which is taught is mainly in relation to the Holocaust. In reality, there is a long and rich Jewish history.

In-depth Jewish history is taught mainly in Jewish private schools. In some schools, Jewish history is its own class while in others it is taught as part of an integrated curriculum with general history. sThere are no standards for the teaching Jewish history in these schools. In these pages, you will find the California State Standards for teaching history at the high school level.

If you wish to find the standards for another state:

History-Social Science
Content Standards for California Public Schools

History-Social Science Content Standards

The California State Board of Education has worked hard with the Academic Standards Commission to develop history-social science standards that reflect California's commitment to history-social science education. These standards emphasize historical narrative, highlight the roles of significant individuals throughout history, and convey the rights and obligations of citizenship.

In that spirit the standards proceed chronologically and call attention to the story of America as a noble experiment in a constitutional republic. They recognize that America's ongoing struggle to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution is the struggle to maintain our beautifully complex national heritage of e pluribus unum. While the standards emphasize Western civilizations as the source of American political institutions, laws, and ideology, they also expect students to analyze the changing political relationships within and among other countries and regions of the world, both throughout history and within the context of contemporary global interdependence.

The standards serve as the basis for statewide assessments, curriculum frameworks, and instructional materials, but methods of instructional delivery remain the responsibility of local educators.

Development of the Standards

The recommended history-social science standards build on the work of exemplary documents from both within and outside California, most notably the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, a document strengthened by the consensus that elicited it and nationally recognized for its emphasis on historical events presented within a chronological and geographic context.

The standards reflect guidance and input from countless members of the California teaching community and other citizens who attended the meetings of the State Board and Standards Commission. Their input contributed substantively to the discussions and the drafts, as did the input gathered from the nine directed community input meetings hosted by the Standards Commission throughout the state in January 1998 and from the five field hearings held by the State Board throughout the state in August 1998. At those forums, parents, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders helped define key issues. Current practice and the state of history-social science instruction in California were also given special consideration during the process. In addition, history-social science experts from around the nation reviewed and submitted formal comments on the first and second drafts. The more than 70 reviewers included eminent historians, geographers, economists, and political scientists. Their input helped immeasurably to strengthen the rigor and quality of the standards.

Highlights of the Standards

With the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools as a guide to the eras and civilizations to study, these standards require students not only to acquire core knowledge in history and social science, but also to develop the critical thinking skills that historians and social scientists employ to study the past and its relationship to the present. It is possible to spend a lifetime studying history and not learn about every significant historical event; no one can know everything. However, the State Board hopes that during their years of formal schooling, students will learn to distinguish the important from the unimportant, to recognize vital connections between the present and the past, and to appreciate universal historical themes and dilemmas.

Throughout this document, the use of biographies, original documents, diaries, letters, legends, speeches, and other narrative artifacts from our past is encouraged to foster students' understanding of historical events by revealing the ideas, values, fears, and dreams of the people associated with them. Found in archives, museums, historical sites, and libraries across California, these original materials are indispensable resources. The State Board hopes schools will take advantage of these repositories and encourage students' direct contact with history. The standards also emphasize the importance of enriching the study of history through the use of literature, both from and about the period being studied.

Mastery of these standards will ensure that students not only know the facts, but also understand common and complex themes throughout history, making connections among their own lives, the lives of the people who came before them, and the lives of those to come. The statements at the beginning of each grade provide a brief overview of the greater story under study. The overarching statements in each grade and their substatements function as conceptual units: the numbered items under each overarching standard delineate aspects of the bigger concept that students are expected to master. In this way, teachers and assessors can focus on the concept without neglecting the essential components of each.

The standards include many exemplary lists of historical figures that could be studied. These examples are illustrative. They do not suggest that all of the figures mentioned are required for study, nor do they exclude the study of additional figures that may be relevant to the standards.

The standards do not exist in isolation. The History-Social Science Framework will be revised to align with the standards, and it will include suggested ways to relate the standards' substance to students, ways to make connections within and across grades, and detailed guidance for day-to-day instruction and lesson plans. Teachers should use these documents together.

Knowledge and skills increase in complexity in a systematic fashion from kindergarten through grade twelve, although no standards exist for grade nine in deference to current California practice in which grade nine is the year students traditionally choose a history-social science elective. However, in the coming years, the State Board intends to review this current practice.

In kindergarten through grade three, students are introduced to the basic concepts of each discipline: history, geography, civics, and economics. Beginning at grade four, the disciplines are woven together within the standards at each grade.

The critical thinking skills that support the study of history-social science are outlined in the sections for grades five, eight, and ten. To approach subject matter as historians, geographers, economists, and political scientists, students are expected to employ these skills as they master the content.

While the State Board recognizes that it will take both time and changes in policies for schools, teachers, and students to meet these standards, we believe it can and must be done. When students master the content and develop the skills contained in these standards, they will be well equipped for the twenty-first century.

Grades 9 Through 12: Introduction
History-Social Science Content Standards.

Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills

The intellectual skills noted below are to be learned through, and applied to, the content standards for grades nine through twelve. They are to be assessed only in conjunction with the content standards in grades nine through twelve.
In addition to the standards for grades nine through twelve, students demonstrate the following intellectual, reasoning, reflection, and research skills.

Chronological and Spatial Thinking

  1. Students compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences of past events and decisions and determining the lessons that were learned.
  2. Students analyze how change happens at different rates at different times; understand that some aspects can change while others remain the same; and understand that change is complicated and affects not only technology and politics but also values and beliefs.
  3. Students use a variety of maps and documents to interpret human movement, including major patterns of domestic and international migration, changing environmental preferences and settlement patterns, the frictions that develop between population groups, and the diffusion of ideas, technological innovations, and goods.
  4. Students relate current events to the physical and human characteristics of places and regions.

Historical Research, Evidence, and Point of View

  1. Students distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations.
  2. Students identify bias and prejudice in historical interpretations.
  3. Students evaluate major debates among historians concerning alternative interpretations of the past, including an analysis of authors' use of evidence and the distinctions between sound generalizations and misleading oversimplifications.
  4. Students construct and test hypotheses; collect, evaluate, and employ information from multiple primary and secondary sources; and apply it in oral and written presentations.

Historical Interpretation

  1. Students show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic, and political trends and developments.
  2. Students recognize the complexity of historical causes and effects, including the limitations on determining cause and effect.
  3. Students interpret past events and issues within the context in which an event unfolded rather than solely in terms of present-day norms and values.
  4. Students understand the meaning, implication, and impact of historical events and recognize that events could have taken other directions.
  5. Students analyze human modifications of landscapes and examine the resulting environmental policy issues.
Students conduct cost-benefit analyses and apply basic economic indicators to analyze the aggregate economic behavior of the U.S. economy.