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[Susan notes: I find it interesting that Bill Gates, who gained such publicity for his great interest in Big History doesn't seem to have donated a dime to the Stanford effort.

I tend to be suspicious of most thing Stanford does, but it is worth taking a look at this project .]

Submitted to Los Angeles Times but not published

To the editor

Is LAUSD "playing with history"?

David Tokofsky is concerned that approaches to history such as the Stanford curriculum now in use at Venice High "diminish content and scope in service to their hip methods" ("Playing with history," Nov. 28).

Both the Times' article describing the new curriculum ( LA Unified adopts free history curriculum from Stanford University, Nov. 26) and publications by those responsible for the program at the Stanford History Education Group suggest that the inquiry-based approach does not diminish but increases students' mastery of history, and also generates real enthusiasm for history.

The new approach encourages students to look beneath the surface and examine authentic documents to gather evidence to determine whether claims and assumptions are supported by evidence. I recommend that both critics and supporters of the Stanford program do the same.

Note: I have no connection with the Stanford curriculum nor with the Stanford History Education Group.

Stephen Krashen, USC Professor Emeritus

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