Monday, November 12, 2018

TCR SUMMER PROGRAM 2019


    The Concord Review Summer Program—2019 
              Priority Registration Is Now Open

TCR Summer Programs are intensive workshops in history, research, and writing that offer high school students an advisory structure in which to work on historical research projects on topics of their own choosing. Students arrive at the program with a research topic in hand that they then develop over the course of two weeks, with the end goal of writing a publication-worthy essay. They are given the opportunity to formulate productive research questions, to find and use primary and secondary sources, to take effective notes, to examine model historical essays, to pursue various analytical and narrative writing strategies, to confront problems of structure and organization, and to contemplate the larger philosophical dilemmas associated with studying the past; they are also given individual sessions with instructors, as well as ample study time on their own for reading and writing in a fully-equipped research library.

San Francisco: Monday, June 10–Friday, June 21, 2019
Tuition: Day program ($3,650)
Boston: Monday, June 24–Friday, July 5, 2019
Tuition: Day program ($3,650) / Boarding program ($4,750)
Oklahoma: Monday, July 8–Friday, July 19
Tuition: Boarding program ($4,750)
Seoul: Monday, July 22–Friday, August 2, 2019
Tuition: Day program ($4,500)

Priority application deadline: November 30, 2018, 11:59pm.

Admitted students will receive an email with registration instructions by December 14 and will be expected to complete their registration by December 31, 2018, 11:59pm.

Regular application deadline: Jan 31, 2019, 11:59pm

Admitted students will receive an email with registration instructions by February 15, 2019 and will be expected to complete their registration by February 29, 2019, 11:59pm.

Regular application form will become available on January 1, 2019.

If you have any questions, please see the Summer Program FAQ at tcr.org, or contact Steven Lee at steven.lee@tcr.org

Friday, October 12, 2018

THE WASHINGTON POST

The Washington Post
 
More reading and writing in high school? No time for that.


By Jay Mathews

Columnist
October 11 at 12:00 PM

Will Fitzhugh has been struggling for more than 30 years to persuade high schools to let students do something they rarely do—write.


His weapon in this battle is his quarterly publication, The Concord Review. It is the only journal in the world devoted to scholarly papers written by high school students.


The more than 1,300 history research papers he has printed have shown how much schools are missing by not encouraging lots of composition. In a new essay on the problem, Fitzhugh points out this is not only a blow to writing instruction but to what should be the center of any education—reading.


It never occurs to the people who run our schools, Fitzhugh said recently on his Concord Review blog, “that if students read more, they would know more, and in that way actually have some knowledge they wanted to write about.”


“But reading and knowledge never seem to find their way into discussions of Literacy in Our Time,” he said. “When teaching our students to write, not only are standards set very low in most high schools, limiting students to the five-paragraph essay, responses to a document-based question, or the personal (or college) essay about matters which are often no one else’s business, but we often so load up students with formulae and guidelines that the importance of writing when the author has something to say gets lost in the maze of the processes.”


This is an old-fashioned argument, which is one reason I am so taken with it. The most recent approaches to composition in the Common Core State Standards have shown little progress.


Many adolescents like to write. Self-expression helps them deal with the changes in their lives. But the jargon of secondary-school English departments kills the appeal. Here is the Common Core guidance for ninth- and 10th-graders writing an argument: “Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons and evidence.”

The following statement is not a joke: Many writing classes discourage much writing. The nonprofit Education Trust found that only 9 percent of 1,876 literacy assignments in six urban middle schools asked students to write more than a single paragraph. Fitzhugh’s 2002 research found that 81 percent of high schools never assigned a paper of more than 5,000 words.


Sadly, English teachers don’t have time to handle lengthy researched essays. They cringe at what Fitzhugh calls his Page Per Year Plan©: a five-page paper in fifth grade, adding a page each year until everyone does a 12-page paper in 12th grade. He wants students to address issues they have read about, maybe even tackling a nonfiction book or two, very rare in schools.


“Reading and writing are inseparable partners, in my view,” Fitzhugh said in his latest piece. “In letters from authors of essays published in The Concord Review since 1987, they often say that they read so much about something in history that they reached a point where they felt a strong need to tell people what they had found out.” That produced Review papers such as “North Korean Theocracy” by Ana Mariella Mundaca of the Sidwell Friends School in the District and “Socialist Realism” by Maya Krishnan of Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland.


How can schools carve out more time for reading and writing, and for editing by teachers? Retired teachers and journalists I know have offered free help, but outsiders make high school administrators uncomfortable. I have suggested a one-semester required class. No lectures. No homework. Students would only read, and then write about what they read. Teachers would sit with each student 10 minutes at a time to guide and edit their work. No papers for them to take home.
Over the course of a semester, that means students would wind up with about two hours of personal editing—two hours more than they usually get. (In case you’re wondering how I arrived at that estimate: The teacher would conduct four editing sessions a day—20 a week—over a 15-week semester for 25 students. Do the math, and it comes out to two hours per student.) 


Teachers could use the class time now spent teaching general sentence structure, paragraphing, voice, tone and other mechanics that Fitzhugh and teenagers hate.

How much more could students learn about writing by actually writing? That’s how I learned. Having seen what Fitzhugh has produced, I say it’s worth a try.


 =============


Jay Mathews is an education columnist for The Washington Post, his employer for nearly 50 years. He created the annual America's Most Challenging High Schools rankings of high schools and has written nine books.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

TCR SUMMER PROGRAM 2019


    The Concord Review Summer Program—2019 

              Priority Registration Is Now Open

TCR Summer Programs are intensive workshops in history, research, and writing that offer high school students an advisory structure in which to work on historical research projects on topics of their own choosing. Students arrive at the program with a research topic in hand that they then develop over the course of two weeks, with the end goal of writing a publication-worthy essay. They are given the opportunity to formulate productive research questions, to find and use primary and secondary sources, to take effective notes, to examine model historical essays, to pursue various analytical and narrative writing strategies, to confront problems of structure and organization, and to contemplate the larger philosophical dilemmas associated with studying the past; they are also given individual sessions with instructors, as well as ample study time on their own in a fully-equipped research library.

San Francisco: Monday, June 10–Friday, June 21, 2019
Tuition: Day program ($3,650)

Boston: Monday, June 24–Friday, July 5, 2019
Tuition: Day program ($3,650) / Boarding program ($4,750)

Seoul: Monday, July 22–Friday, August 2, 2019
Tuition: Day program ($4,500)

Priority application deadline: November 30, 2018, 11:59pm.

Admitted students will receive an email with registration instructions by December 14 and will be expected to complete their registration by December 31, 2018, 11:59pm.

Regular application deadline: Jan 31, 2019, 11:59pm

Admitted students will receive an email with registration instructions by February 15, 2019 and will be expected to complete their registration by February 29, 2019, 11:59pm.

Regular application form will become available on January 1, 2019.

If you have any questions, please see the Summer Program FAQ at tcr.org, or contact Steven Lee at steven.lee@tcr.org

Monday, October 1, 2018

READING BEFORE WRITING

SchoolInfoSystem.org, Madison, Wisconsin
EducationViews.org, Houston, Texas

Reading and knowledge never seem to find their way
into discussions of Literacy in Our Schools.


September 26, 2018 


Reading Before Writing

 
Will Fitzhugh, The Concord Review


The extra-large ubiquitous Literacy Community is under siege from universal dissatisfaction with the Writing skills of both students and graduates, and this is a complaint of very long standing.
The Community response is to request more money and time to spend on sentence structure, paragraphing, voice, tone, and other mechanical Writing paraphernalia.
 It never seems to occur to them that if students read more, they would know more, and in that way actually have some knowledge they wanted to write about.


But reading and knowledge never seem to find their way into discussions of Literacy in Our Schools.

When teaching our students to write, not only are standards set very low in most high schools, limiting students to the five-paragraph essay, responses to a document-based question, or the personal (or college) essay about matters which are often no one else’s business, but we often so load up students with formulae and guidelines that the importance of writing when the author has something to say gets lost in the maze of processes.


On the one hand writing is difficult enough to do, and academic writing is especially difficult if the student hasn’t read anything, and on the other hand teachers feel the need to have students “produce” writing, however short or superficial that writing may be. So writing consultants and writing teachers feel they must come up with guidelines, parameters, checklists, and the like, as props to substitute for students’ absent motivation to describe or express in writing something they have learned.


Samuel Johnson once said, “an author will turn over half a library to produce one book,” the point being, as I understand it, that good writing must be based on extensive reading. But reading is just the step that is left out of the “Writing Process” in too many instances. The result is that students in fact do not have much to say, so of course they don’t have much they want to communicate in writing.


Enter the guidelines. Students are told to write a topic sentence, to express one idea per paragraph, to follow the structure of Introduction, Body, Conclusion, to follow the Twelve Steps to Effective Writing, and the like. This the students can be made to do, but the result is too often empty, formulaic writing which students come to despise, and which does not prepare them for the serious academic papers they may be asked to do in college.


I fear that the history book report, at least at the high school level in too many places, has died in the United States. 


Perhaps people will contact me with welcome evidence to the contrary, but where it is no longer done, students have not only been discouraged from reading nonfiction, but also have been lead to believe that they can and must write to formula without knowing something—for instance about the contents of a good book—before they write.

A nationally famous teacher of teachers of writing once told me: “I teach writing, I don’t get into content that much…” This is a splendid example of the divorce between content [reading and knowledge] and process [techniques] in common writing instruction. 


Reading and writing are inseparable partners, in my view. In letters from authors of essays published in The Concord Review since 1987, they often say that they read so much about something in history that they reached a point where they felt a strong need to tell people what they had found out. The knowledge they had acquired had given them the desire to write well so that others could share and appreciate it as they did.


This is where good academic writing should start.
When the motivation is there, born from knowledge gained, then the writing process follows a much more natural and straightforward  path. Then the student can write, read what they have written, and see what they have left out, what they need to learn more about, and what they have failed to express as clearly as they wanted to. Then they read more, re-write, and do all the natural things that have always lead to good academic writing, whether in history or in any other subject. 


At that point the guidelines are no longer needed, because the student has become immersed in the real work of expressing the meaning and value of something they know is worth writing about. This writing helps them discover the limits of their own understanding of the subject and allows them to see more clearly what they themselves think about the subject. The process of critiquing their own writing becomes natural and automatic. This is not to deny, of course, the value of reading what they have written to a friend or of giving it to a teacher for criticism and advice. But the writing techniques and processes no longer stop up the natural springs for the motivation to write.


As students are encouraged to learn more before they write, their writing will gradually extend past the five-paragraph size so often constraining the craft of writing in our schools. The Page Per Year Plan© suggests that all public high school Seniors could be expected to write a twelve-page history research paper, if they had written an eleven-page paper their Junior year, a ten-page paper their Sophomore year, and a nine-page paper their Freshman year, and so on all the way back through the five-page paper in Fifth Grade and even to a one-page paper on a topic other than themselves their first year in school. With The Page Per Year Plan©, every Senior in high school will have learned, for that twelve-page paper, more about some topic probably than anyone else in their class knows, perhaps even more than any of their teachers knows about that subject. They will have had in the course of writing longer papers each year, that first taste of being a scholar which will serve them so well in higher education and beyond.


Writing is always much harder when the student has nothing to communicate, and the proliferating paraphernalia of structural aids from writing consultants and teachers often simply encumber students and alienate them from the essential benefits of writing. John Adams urged his fellow citizens to “Dare to read, think, speak and write” so that they could contribute to the civilization we have been given to enjoy and preserve. Let us endeavor to allow students to discover, through their own academic reading and writing, both the discipline and the satisfactions of reading and of writing carefully and well.


In 1625, Francis Bacon wrote, “Reading maketh a Full man, Conference a Ready man, and Writing an Exact man.” These benefits are surely among those we should not withhold from our K-12 students.


The Concord Review, 730 Boston Post Road, Suite 24, Sudbury, Massachusetts 01776
www.tcr.org    978-443-0022     fitzhugh@tcr.org

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

IN PRAISE OF

The Boston Globe

 September 17, 2018

 Jeff Jacoby



            In praise of The Concord Review
 


For years, Will Fitzhugh has deplored the fact that talented high school scholars get so much less recognition than talented high school athletes. Many newspapers publish lavish “all-scholastic ” special sections celebrating the achievements of young track, softball, and soccer stars, but there are no four-color inserts extolling high-school students who excel at academics. At colleges all over America, athletic coaches keep tabs on the most promising up-and-coming high school basketball, baseball, and football players. But is there a History Department chairman on any campus in the United States who could name the most gifted history student at any high school within a 500-mile radius?
 
Thirty years ago, Fitzhugh—a one-time history teacher in Concord, Massachusetts—set out to change this imbalance. I wrote about his efforts in a column last year:
 

Fitzhugh decided to blaze a path. He quit his job, cashed in his pension, and devoted himself full-time to producing a journal that would show what kind of scholarly writing kids were capable of. He adopted “Varsity Academics®” as his slogan and put out a call for excellent history essays. The journal’s purpose, he says, was to serve as a new kind of peer pressure: to demonstrate to high school students everywhere what kids like them could produce.
 

As word of The Concord Review trickled out, the superb history papers began flowing in. So did tributes from supporters as varied as Albert Shanker, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., John Silber, and David McCullough. So did modest financial support from a handful of donors who grasped the potential of what Fitzhugh was doing.

But it has always been a hand-to-mouth existence. Fitzhugh never saw anything like the tens of millions of dollars that are poured into after-the-fact remedial writing instruction and into gimmicky feel-good campaigns by foundations more interested in boosting self-esteem than in challenging students to work hard. Over and over, Fitzhugh’s grant applications have been rejected on the grounds that his journal is too elitist, or that it doesn’t have a politically correct edge, or that the study of history isn’t, after all, nearly as important as he seems to think it is. A few high schools have embraced The Concord Review. But far more want nothing to do with a journal so committed to high academic standards.

Through it all, Fitzhugh persists, cheerful and determined—and passionate as ever about student achievement. It remains the case that most high school students are never required to write a serious research paper. But now there are 30 years’ worth of Concord Reviews that open a window into an alternative universe. You want to see what high school kids can do? Spend some time with The Concord Review, and prepare to be inspired.


The papers published in The Concord Review bear no resemblance to the five-paragraph “essay” that millions of high-school students have been misled into thinking constitutes serious writing. The history essays Fitzhugh accepts for publication are typically in the 5,000-8,000 word range. But there is no word limit, and at least one essay (on the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah) ran to more than 20,000 words.

Nor is there any subject requirement. Students are invited to submit papers on any historical topic at all, and the range of subjects they have tackled is vast. The most recent issue includes essays on the Treaty of Lausanne, the Northern Wei Dynasty, the Election of 1916, the Trans-Siberian Railroad, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and the Irish liberator Daniel O’Connell. The only thing the essays have in common, besides their brilliance, is that they were all written by high school students.

The Concord Review
isn’t splashy, and neither is its founder and editor. But what Fitzhugh lacks in razzle-dazzle and snappy jokes, he more than makes up for in charisma, good spirits, commitment, and a lifelong pursuit of excellence. A brief new video [https-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5MTYErq4y4] highlighting his one-man crusade is being promoted online by the Pioneer Institute, one of Boston’s leading think tanks. Take seven minutes to watch it, and you’ll be reassured that even in our era of dumbed-down, short-attention-span, lowest-common-denominator education, all is not yet lost.

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

TCR VIDEO

EducationViews.org; Houston, Texas

Video Highlights Long-Running Journal that Publishes History Essays by High School Students


September 11, 2018 by
Pioneer Institute


https://youtu.be/B5MTYErq4y4


Try watching this video on www.youtube.com, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.


BOSTON – A new video highlights the work of Will Fitzhugh, who for years has operated The Concord Review, a journal that publishes history essays by secondary students from across the country and around the globe

“Will Fitzhugh has dedicated his career to disseminating the superb work of high school students to their peers and the world,” said Jamie Gass, who directs Pioneer Institute’s Center for School Reform and is also a member of The Concord Review board. “His goal is to inspire as many students as possible by putting excellent history writing in front of them.”

In well over 100 issues since 1987, the Review has thus far published nearly 1,300 essays by students from 45 states and 40 foreign countries. There are no length or subject requirements beyond the history focus, which maximizes students’ freedom to pursue their interests.

Fitzhugh asks his student authors to let him know where they will be attending college. Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Princeton are the most common destinations.

The Concord Review
has attracted a number of high-profile supporters, including the late American Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker, who wrote two columns about it in The New York Times after reading an early issue of the journal. Historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. said The Concord Review “should be in every high school in the land.” 


Other Concord Review boosters include Pulitzer-Prize winning historian David McCullough, education historian Diane Ravitch, and Jay Mathews of The Washington Post.

Earlier this year, Fitzhugh co-authored a review of Massachusetts’ new K-12 academic standards in U.S. History. In June, Pioneer Institute published the results of a poll showing strong support among legislators, parents, and teachers for reinstating a state requirement that students pass a U.S. History MCAS test to graduate from high school. 


 
================


About Pioneer—Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.

Monday, September 3, 2018

DONG HYUN KANG

Dong Hyun Kang
Republic of Korea

27 August 2018

Will Fitzhugh
The Concord Review
730 Boston Post Road, Suite 24
Sudbury, Massachusetts 01776 USA



Dear Mr. Fitzhugh,

This is Dong Hyun Kang, who received an Emerson Prize for the history paper, “Creation of Hangul” a few months back.


It is really my honor and pleasure to get such a positive evaluation from a highly respected institution like yours. 


I would like to inform you that I have received your check for $1,000 as well. After thinking about how I should spend the money, I have ultimately decided to donate it to The Concord Review.


While I fully understand that you have intended the money to be used for my purpose, I would like to contribute to helping inspire other high school historians to academic excellence, which is the very goal of The Concord Review.


My experience of writing “Creation of Hangul” by itself has been very rewarding, for it has allowed me to attain a new level of sophisticated thinking regrading critical analysis and synthesis of historical events and phenomena.


Once again, I cannot express my gratitude enough for the uniquely high distinction you have accorded me.

Cordially,

Dong Hyun Kang
[Seoul International School, Class of 2018
Oxford University, 2021]