Opening Remarks by James David Moran
Thank you Dr. Thomas. This program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, will provide over 125 teachers in the Worcester, Millbury, and Sutton public school districts with intensive content-based instruction in the time period 1763 to the present. The three-year program will include six graduate level courses organized chronologically with eighteen corresponding workshops, six summer institutes centered around seminal documents in U.S. history and three lectures by prominent award-winning historians.
In addition to the collaborating partner institutions -- Assumption College, the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Old Sturbridge Village, Worcester State College, and the American Antiquarian Society -- the Keepers of the Republic program will call upon the talents of many local historians in a region-wide partnership. These include: John McClymer and Lucia Knoles from Assumption College; Steve Bullock from WPI, Janette Greenwood, Doug Little, and Drew McCoy from Clark University; and Donald Brand, Ed O'Donnell and Virginia Raguin from the College of the Holy Cross; and Jack Larkin from Old Sturbridge Village. Additionally, the project will have a national dimension as we call upon scholars from outside the region to conduct summer institutes and offer lectures. These include: Manisha Sinha from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, David Blight and Thomas Thurston from Yale, Jay Fliegelman from Stanford, Laurel Ulrich and Jill Lepore from Harvard; and Gordon Wood from Brown.
We have identified the goals of this project as the following:
- To increase teachers' knowledge of primary and secondary resources through study with American history scholars.
- To increase teachers' content knowledge in the timeframe 1763 to the present yielding increased critical thinking, problem solving, analysis, and interpretation practices with their students.
- To improve students' learning in United States history.
- To Create and expand new and sustainable linkages with scholars, higher education partners, cultural institutions, and other school districts, and
- To establish an evaluation process to provide ongoing feedback, determine the success of the project, and guide future initiatives.
As many of you know David McCullough came to Worcester a few weeks ago and spoke at the behest of the American Antiquarian Society before a sold out crowd of approximately 800 people. During the question and answer period he remarked on how important good teachers are and how powerful an impetus it can be when teachers share their passion for their subject with their students. He further commented that you cannot love something you don't know.
I believe that an additional goal of this project is to re-ignite that passion. By putting teachers together with prominent and dynamic historians and scholars and immersing them deeply in the study of American history we can recharge their batteries and help them rediscover why they became teachers in the first place. They will become reinvigorated, refreshed, and renewed and will go back into their classrooms to share with their students not only their new-found knowledge but also their excitement and their passion for this knowledge. Such passion can be infectious. A lesson taught with passion can frequently make the difference between learning and understanding, between education and transformation.
This project provides us with a wonderful opportunity to honor and support teachers. Teaching is one of society's most important professions, yet too often it is not revered or respected. In this age of education reform and "No Child Left Behind" we seem to be leaving all teachers behind. Good teachers are as vital to our communal well being as physicians or firefighters, for while those professions preserve our lives and possessions, teachers preserve our future. If we are to keep our republic we must first start by preserving those who will teach it. Thank you.
James David Moran
Delivered on October 14, 2005
For more information, contact:
Amy Lynn Sopcak-Joseph
American Antiquarian Society
Worcester, MA 01609