Class time for social studies varies greatly in the elementary grades, and many districts in Tennessee are spending less time on social studies as a separate subject. Some districts have blended it into other subjects, such as reading or writing.
According to Bill Carey, executive director of Tennessee History for Kids, the proposed new standards which simplify requirements could lead to cutting back on more time spent on social studies.
“I understand why many teachers say they don’t have time to cover all these standards,” said Carey. “But the problem we have as we receive feedback is that so many of these teachers work for systems where social studies is half, or even a fourth, of a subject.”
There is no state mandate on the amount of time districts spend on any subject. According to review committee chairman Jason Roach, the goal of standards is what students should know, and not just topics. “What we are trying to do now is get students the skills,” he said. “It is not about students memorizing trivia. We want to give students the skills to be historians.”