Connecticut schools must illuminate history’s ‘big story’

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Since 2013 the C3 Common Core has changed the way social studies is taught in our public schools. This has done irreparable harm to students understanding history’s “Big Story.”

Fortunately, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and authors of the C3 have done a complete reversal of their earlier position regarding national standards.

This month in Education World the NCSS surprisingly endorses National Standards in U.S. history, civics and government, geography, and economics. They state that these standards are essential to an adequate social studies education just as they are to their individual disciplines. These are sStandards that have eluded Connecticut for three decades and were previously ignored by the NCSS.

Indeed, since 2013 critics, including myself, have lined up opposing C3 no doubt perpetuating this change by the NCSS. For example, history prof Paul Horton of the University of Chicago wrote, “History Matters.”  He calls the C3 “Fools Gold”. While Hofstra Professor, Alan Singer, wrote “How the NCSS Sold Out Social Studies and History”. Both criticized the C3 for pigeon-holing history to fit a prevailing narrative while ignoring history’s Big Story.

In the push for better U.S. History courses in public schools the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) – also known as the Nation’s Report Card- has sounded the alarm. For years they have stated that the vast majority of students graduating from high school do not have a good foundation or firm grasp of our Nation’s history which is the basis of our Democracy. How does this best serve the needs of CT students- our future citizens?

After 30 years of students in the Constitution State roaming about in a social studies vacuum without benefit of National Standards in place it is time for the State Department of Education in Hartford to do the right thing: Put politics and their special interests aside and insist upon National Standards in every classroom that will illuminate history’s Big Story.

 

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