A “draft framework” for common social studies standards is scheduled for release next month. If a report by Education Week’s Catherine Gewertz is any indication, they might be so devoid of curricular content as to be functionally meaningless.
“Social studies specialists have been working with state department of education officials and others to create standards in that subject,” Gewertz notes. That means expert guidance on the history and geography subject matter children should learn in each grade–the seven continents and oceans of the world in kindergarten; Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt in first grade; the U.S. Constitution in second grade–right? I mean that is the point of this exercise, isn’t it? Gewertz’s blog post indicates those looking for specificity might be disappointed.
“Early signs suggest that you shouldn’t expect something that prescribes the specific issues, trends, or events that students should study, but rather describes the structure, tools, and habits of mind they need in order to undertake an exploration of the discipline, and offers states a frame for the content they choose.”
Just asking: If the “framework” for social studies takes a pass on detailing what’s worth knowing and contents itself instead with a squishy and unsatisfying description of the “structure, tools and habits of mind,” how–how exactly, please–will that be anything than redundant with the CCSS ELA standards?
The ELA standards strike a hammer blow for a content-rich vision of literacy in U.S. classrooms without detailing the content. It’s a step in the wrong direction if social studies specialists are unwilling to begin to detail at least some of what that content should include.
Perhaps the authors of the draft framework would like to help themselves to the Core Knowledge Sequence for Pre-K to 8th grade. It’s free for your downloading. Take it. Steal it. Call it your own.