With attention on math and science, one overlooked area of curriculum planning appears to be Common Core and Social Studies, or how social studies can be used to meet Common Core Standards. But then, many Social Studies departments and programs across the USA have long been in need of a curriculum overhaul
For example, New York state’s official social studies curriculum does not mention September 11, 2001. It makes no mention of major events of recent history, such as the Great Recession and the Affordable Care act.
The last update of the curriculum was in 1996. No updates have been made since that time, well before Common Core was being discussed.
Social studies has been a forgotten discipline with so much energy expended on erecting the Common Core standards for math and English and promoting the importance of STEM education (that’s science, technology, engineering and math for you bookworms and art historians).
But don’t forget your colonial history or map legends. Social studies may be heading for a mini-renaissance in New York.
The state Board of Regents recently adopted a new “framework” for social studies, a guide to what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through high school. The document, shaped by a group of 19 New York educators, stops short of offering a full curriculum in hopes that schools will make local choices about, say, which ancient river-valley civilizations to study in sixth grade.
“Social studies was sort of left behind,” said Steve Goldberg, social studies chairman at New Rochelle High School, who led the educators panel. “We wanted to give schools strong guideposts for each grade, leaving it to them to figure out how to teach the material. We also wanted to avoid the public storms around the Common Core, and I think we made it through.”