Here's one report card we won't put on the fridge

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Recently released findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or the Nation's Report Card, reveal that less than one-quarter of tested students are proficient in United States history. The numbers are even less encouraging when broken out by grade level- only 12 percent of high school seniors performed at the proficient level.

If students don't know much about history, it might be because their teachers don't either. The chairwoman-elect of the National Council for History Education was quoted in the New York Times as saying that social studies education majors are "not prepared to teach history." It should come as no surprise that we sacrifice depth when we strive for breadth, and that holds true for teacher prep programs. This is why several of the seventeen standards in our national review of education schools address whether middle and high school teacher candidates know the content that they will teach. Only one school (Northwestern University) in our recent review of teacher preparation in Illinois met our standard for appropriate high school teacher preparation. Given that, we may have a long way to go before our Nation's Report Card is fridge-worthy.