As of now, Shawnee Mission remains the only school district in the state that does not require a World History credit for graduation. Next year, the district will be introducing a new class to freshman that will require them to obtain the world history background that is needed for the rest of the state.
While many student do take world history courses such as World History itself, or EHAP their sophomore year, some students take optional classes, such as Economics, and skip taking a World History class altogether.
“That means that 15-20 percent of our students will graduate without a world history credit,” Social Studies Department Head Todd McAtee said.
Other schools, such as Olathe and Blue Valley, requires their incoming freshman to take World History in order to graduate. Not being in line with other districts’ requirements means that East students might lack education in an areas that the rest of the state requires.
“We are not in line with the state standards,” McAtee said.
The Kansas Board of Region called meeting explaining how they wanted to widen the scope of World Geography courses in order to weave in more historic backgrounds. They feel the course is centered too heavily on the actual geography of the world rather than its historic background.
“The class will now have a greater emphasis on world events,” Associate Principal John McKinney said.
World Geography will now be changed over to “World Regional” and will be the required course for Freshman to take. World History will still be offered as a Social Studies class to sophomores and will be taught by the current geography teachers.
The basis of the class will stay similar to what it is currently but will contain more threads of history about country or region being studied. In order to make room for the new information and materials the study of North America has been cut from the course.
“The class will have the same geography curriculum but it will incorporate the history of each region into the geography lesson,” McAtee said.