In a democracy like the United States, knowledge of history is vital. Yet we face a great threat to our national identity today: most American students nearing voting age know startlingly little about the foundational democratic principles and ideals that comprise the history of this nation. Few others understand this challenge better than Dr. William J. Bennett. Bennett, former U.S. Education Secretary and chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, concern about the gap between the fascinating American story and the poor way that history is often taught in schools inspired him to lead the charge in creating engaging curriculum. His project, America: The Last Best Hope, breaks convention to “recapture the glory” and the “conviction about American greatness and purpose.” Widely renowned as one of America’s best storytellers, Dr. Bennett’s textbooks are written as an engaging and interesting narrative, focusing on stories about historical figures rather than an analytical study to help shape the next generation of informed citizens. Dr. Bennett enlisted the help of Sagamore Institute to get The Last Best Hope into Indiana classrooms.
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Civic Education: The Bill Bennett Project
Bill Bennett, author of the three volume set of the history of the United States entitled “America: The Last Best Hope,” which have been adopted for school use in the State of Indiana and the City of New York, asked “So when was the last time you caught your children staying up past bedtime reading their history textbook under covers with a flashlight?” It’s a good question. American History is a subject that has long suffered from lack of engaging and truthful curriculum as well as a lack of prioritization from Education policy makers and schools around the nation.
America: The Last Best Hope
Bennett on the American Idea
On March 25, 2010 Sagamore Institute hosted its first “Celebrating American Ideas” gala. Former Secretary of Education and renowned author William J. Bennett gave a rousing keynote address on the American Idea. His address emphasized the essential role of citizens and our responsibility to learn our nation’s history in order to define and defend democracy.