10. Social Studies: Social transformation is not education

Published Aug 28, 2015 at 4:00pm

[Article 10 of 10: The last in a series that examines a ploy to replace social studies with social transformation that serves authorities at the expense of individuals.]

Legitimate questions have been raised about 1) Common Core, 2) the quality of past teaching, and 3) newly approved social studies revisions.

1) Common Core is a side issue. It is a logical fallacy to presume that either a) education has failed and Common Core is the only way to fix it, or b) that Common Core is worse than the problem and schools should continue what they are currently doing.

2) Setting aside Common Core, teachers who do not engage students positively need to be mentored to success or removed from the classroom.

3) While Common Core Literacy Standards help to assure students do not leave the 3rd grade unable to write, read, and inquire, the integration of the guidelines into social studies frameworks obscures social transformation for which no citizen has voted. Pushing transformation, the frameworks fail to teach basic knowledge, skills, and concepts or validate useful understandings that students need to arm themselves to face the world.

Education unequivocally belongs to the individual. The Social Studies frameworks presume education belongs to the state. The task for teachers, school districts, state education authorities, and academia is to recognize the obligation to individual education. It is to recognize the chants for top-down uniform schooling are meant to keep voters from discovering its flaws.

Social studies used to claim to integrate history, economics, politics and culture to show how people have interacted with each other through the years, so the past could be applied to improve current and future interactions. The National Council for the Social Studies dropped that to promote a self-defined version civic competence that parents, if they understood the consequences, would not choose for their children.

Several attempts have been made over the last hundred years to commandeer education along the lines promulgated by national and international organizations with financial and policy interests in removing education from local hands and transforming it to serve their particular interests.[1]

They try to supplant history, economics, political theory, and core lessons about social interaction to promote docility and compliance. What is proposed does not help each student develop knowledge and skills to defend against even the teacher.

Socrates’ Apology juxtaposed order and discipline next to responsibility and free speech. Those afraid of speech don’t trust people. They don’t trust anyone but themselves, giving others no reason to trust them.

Socrates’ question ‘Who has the right to educate students?’ is really the question ‘Who governs?’ Authorities call for order, but order is not judgment so it is about who governs.

Plans to commit mental disarmament have reached the point it would be better to discard the centrally approved Social Studies Frameworks version of civics and return to teach what matters to the children to whom the education belongs.

[Note: Tomorrow’s article will summarize what has been learned. Future articles will address how to inoculate students to defend society with principles they revalidate for themselves.]

[1] Eubanks. Robin S. Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became A Weapon. © 2013. Pp. 131-176.