Sophomores and their "Nation of Afrcia"

The People’s Republic of California doesn’t require freshman-level history or social science. Therefore, our district doesn’t teach it.

In its place is a yearlong freshman health class — think “Communicable Diseases and You” — split with a seminar on how to succeed as a high school student. State-mandated and standards-driven, this approach looks good on paper.

The irony of the freshman seminar is that despite the adoption of the high school success class, the post-freshman dropout rate stubbornly stays at half.

World history teachers have an even less rosy perspective. As freshmen, the students’ mind is wiped clean. Whole classes’ worth don’t know what a continent is. Our sophomores might be able to place the nation of “Afrcia” on a map.

In response, the department wants a freshman map-quiz-current-events class. I want to teach it. We won’t get that chance.

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