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This site is intended as a sampler for visitors. Volume I, Chapter 3, offers a preview of what every chapter will contain for those who purchase the books and the Roadmaps. See the order forms for purchasing details.

Last Best Hope Story

The Story of a Revolution in American History Education

Written by Team HOPE (History Opens Eyes)

June 2009

 

Once upon a time ... there was a country founded on the belief that all men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights, such as Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.   The story of America is filled with interesting characters, sweeping adventure, world wars, terrible tragedies, and the most majestic of triumphs.  It has been called one of the greatest stories ever told.

And yet, decades of surveys and assessments indicate that American students are either historically illiterate, or think history is boring.  In fact, in no other subject do a majority of students register so little knowledge of a subject taught in school.   One reason is that most history textbooks are boring, and many suffer from what has been called the "mentioning syndrome," a lot of material covered, but with little context or development and so it becomes difficult for students to recognize the significance of events, or enjoy and remember the richness of the actual story.

Enter "America: The Last Best Hope" by former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett.  This three-Volume series on US history spans 1492 to 2009 and is written as an engaging narrative.  It has been described as a comprehensive, balanced narrative about our country's people and events and even called a "page-turner." Last Best Hope is our history written as it should be; with all the drama, romance, action, yes the tragedies, and yes, the triumphs.

After reading Last Best Hope, a team of Milken Educator Award recipients, formed and joined with Dr. Bennett, calling themselves Team HOPE (History Opens Eyes), because we believe that his approach to relating American history has the potential to shape the future of history education, and that Last Best Hope is a solution to the pervasive problem of historical indifference and ignorance among American students.    

 

To support classroom instruction, this fascinating well-written book deserved a unique one-of-kind companion curriculum.  To that end, Team HOPE's award winning history teachers set out to create an on-line resource for teachers and students. And thus, the Roadmap was born.  Launched in schools in Fall 2008, the Roadmap is a password-protected website with thousands of prescreened and relevant web links coinciding with the Last Best Hope chapters, plus lessons, activities, and interactive features that emulate exciting history classrooms.  

 

Our goal for America: The Last Best Hope and the companion Roadmap is nothing less than becoming the curriculum of choice to teach US History in public and private schools, homeschools, and university survey courses.  If you think this is an ambitious goal, you are right.  We are calling it a revolution.  To use an historical analogy, our Founding Fathers started a revolution and shaped our country.  We seek to shape the future of history education, and improve attitudes and achievement.  

 

Why do we think this is possible?  First, a panel review from 22 history experts unanimously agreed and affirmed that this is a history textbook that students will actually read.  

 

An evaluation study with Interactive, Inc. will be conducted to track pre-post attitudes and achievement to provide quantitative and qualitative evidence that students using the Last Best Hope curriculum outperform their control groups.  

 

The cost of Last Best Hope curriculum is a fraction of other textbooks packages, thus providing higher quality materials at a significantly lower price, an additional necessity in this difficult economic climate. But most of all, we know it is possible because ...

 

The revolution has started ...In less than one year, public and independent schools, and homeschool parents across 45 states have started using the Last Best Hope curriculum. Even though state adoptions are a long and rigorous process, Last Best Hope was added to the official approved lists in Indiana and Illinois.  Last Best Hope has been accepted in all states and districts where approval has been sought.

 

In February 2009, the Indiana State Board of Education cited Last Best Hope as the one textbook option that was written to tell the story of America in a manner conducive to student interest.  See http://www.roadmaptolastbesthope.com/files/IndianaBoard.pdf for details.

 

More good news arrived on April 1, 2009.  The Last Best Hope curriculum was approved for use in the New York City Department of Education.  

 

The next chapter ... If have read this far, you may be wondering how this story turned out.  That it where you come in. We are looking for more soldiers and officers to join our army.  We invite you to join Team HOPE and our revolution.  Help us shape history education for all the students today and in the future who deserve an exciting history education.  

 

Just as Paul Revere rode across the countryside and roused the citizens to action, we seek partners from education, nonprofits, business, government and the community to spread the word about this revolution.   There is no time like the present to get our students excited and knowledgeable about the past. We look forward to your participation and ideas.

 

For more information on this project contact us at customer support.