The impending Social Studies fiasco

Dear readers: Dissatisfied with arguments both for and against Common Core, we read the English Language Arts and Social Studies Frameworks documentation ourselves. Studying “core” documents revealed that much of what was being passed to students as Common Core was neither “common” nor “core.” Under cover of the worthwhile Common Core techniques to promote writing, reading,... 4:00pm 08/18/15

1. Social Studies: To whom does an education belong?

[Article 1 of 10: Background for examining why the proposed Social Studies Frameworks should be abandoned.] The framework for Social Studies now being adopted by states plays down history, economics, geography, and political theory.[1] In their place, it develops in impressionable youngsters a set of beliefs that engineer social transformation toward their approved version of... 12:00pm 08/19/15

2. Social Studies: To educate or to school?

[Article 2 of 10: Examines the complicated proposal to revise how social studies is taught and the unexpected and unacceptable consequence of the attempt.] To whom does an education belong is the question that put Socrates’ life at risk. Athenians executed him in 399 BC for daring to ask. When schooling belongs to the state, authorities can mold students to maintain their... 4:00pm 08/19/15

3. Social Studies: A culture war

[Article 3 of 10: The previous article asked whether education belongs to the individual or the government. This article shows how Social Studies designers believe education belongs to the government.] The Social Studies Framework has set up Grade 8 students to be targets in a culture war. The New York version mandates 72 requirements. All but two foster social transformation:... 4:00pm 08/20/15

4. Social Studies: Key understandings go beyond culture

[Article 4 of 10: The previous article showed how a sample Social Studies unit indoctrinates students to feel embarrassed for America’s history. Those lessons took their lead from framework levels, including the top “Key Understandings” level that this article examines.] The Social Studies frameworks (SSF) claim, “Meaningful social studies . . . are structured around enduring... 4:00pm 08/21/15

5. Social Studies: Unencumbered with principles

[Article 5 of 10: The previous article took the Social Studies Frameworks to task for representing only cultural biases, not principles. This article pursues consequence of the absence of principles.] For the Social Studies frameworks, democracy is vexing. Democracy is treated as a principle when it is only a process. Democracy doesn’t validate a proposition; it is a way to... 4:00pm 08/22/15

6. Social Studies: Irrelevant themes

[Article 6 of 10: The previous article exposed that even the concept of democracy is not well presented in the Social Studies Frameworks. This article will examine how Frameworks Themes obscure.] The Social Studies Frameworks themes[1] are supposed to unify but don’t. They offer no useful concepts for students to revalidate and call their own. They rehash subjects and popular... 4:00pm 08/24/15

7. Social Studies: Specifications that misdirect

[Article 7 of 10: The previous article exposed that content thematically organized was incidental and not relevant to what should be taught. This article exposes that content, when specified, is not always as it appears.] Implementation texts for teachers and students are the tip of the educational sword. Mostly created by outside vendors, they arrived pre-designed, with... 4:00pm 08/25/15

8. Social Studies: Practices that obscure history

[Article 8 of 10: Previous articles explained shortcomings of many levels of the Social Studies Frameworks. This article gives examples to show that the practices they propose obscure how to use history.] Learning how to research is quite different from learning to apply history. The New York State K-12 Social Studies Field Guide proposes half a dozen research practices it... 4:00pm 08/26/15

9. Social Studies: The battle for individuals in society

[Article 9 of 10: Previous articles teased out the shortcomings of the Social Studies Frameworks. This article examines why.] If they had tried, creators of the Social Studies Frameworks could not have developed a program less suited to teach students history, economics, and political theory. But, then, their goal appears to replace individuality in culture with a... 4:00pm 08/27/15

10. Social Studies: Social transformation is not education

[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... 4:00pm 08/28/15

Social Studies: In summary, bring on laughter

The Social Studies Frameworks being implemented in New York schools have substituted behavioral changes that promote social transformation to replace the knowledge and analytical thinking upon which solid education depends. When such silliness becomes official, and credentials are brandished to defend it, ordinary people can only resort to laughter. Bring on Blazing Saddles!... 8:47am 09/01/15