Is it possible to teach students the meaning behind President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address without mentioning the Civil War?


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According to the government’s new Common Core education standards, the Gettysburg Address must be taught without mentioning the Civil War and explaining why President Lincoln was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The Student Achievement Partners instructions tell teachers to, “Refrain from giving background context or substantial instructional guidance at the outset…This close reading approach forces students to rely exclusively on the text…and levels the playing field for all students as the seek to comprehend Lincoln’s address.”

Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education, responded in a blog post, “What a travesty…How is it possible for any student to understand the meaning of the Gettysburg Address without knowing the historical context in which it was delivered?”


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