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social studies

Analyzing Mitch Daniels’ Critique of Howard Zinn

In an op-ed for the New York Daily News, Gabriel Schoenfeld addresses the recent controversy surrounding former governor Mitch Daniels’ criticism of Howard Zinn’s  A People’s History of the United States. Schoenfeld argues that Zinn’s work does not meet academic standards and fundamentally misconstrues American history.

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Lessons in Citizenship

In Philanthropy Magazine, Naomi Schaefer Riley writes about philanthropic efforts to strengthen civic learning in American schools. Riley highlights programs by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the Bill of Rights Institute, and What So Proudly We Hail by AEI’s own Leon R. Kass and his wife Amy.

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Texas and Civic Education

We’ve noted before that many social studies teachers favor accountability for their subjects. Our survey, High Schools, Civics, and Citizenship: What Social Studies Teachers Think and Do, found that more than nine out of ten teachers want social studies to become part of their state’s set of standards and testing. Now, Texas educators are protesting changes to the state’s accountability system that could marginalize social studies.

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Social studies follies

Over at the Fordham Institute’s Education Gadfly, Chester Finn, the organization’s president, responds to the recently released statement by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) about its upcoming framework for states to use as they develop their social studies standards.

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Squishiness watch

Following on the heels of CIRCLE’s recent report showing that most states do not significantly test high school students in social studies or civics, a “draft framework” for common social studies standards is scheduled to be released at the upcoming conference of the National Council of Social Studies on November 17.

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Learning in Mr. Clark’s class


Every year, students in Tom Clarke’s high school history class at Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana, embark upon a research project to track down the families of the state’s battle casualties and learn more about those who died in service to their country. And for each of the 27 years that the project has been assigned, both students and the families they interact with come away moved by the experience.

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State testing and social studies

We reported earlier this month that states are beginning to add accountability measures for subjects other than just the federally-required testing in math and reading. Colorado and Oklahoma, for example, plan to add social studies to their assessments. Last week, Maryland joined the group when Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill that will require high school seniors–beginning with the class of 2017–to pass a test in government to graduate from high school.

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What should high school students know about the federal budget?

Funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Teachers College at Columbia University has developed a social studies and mathematics curriculum to teach high school students about the federal budget and fiscal responsibility.

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Accountability for social studies?

Over at Education Week, Erik Robelen writes that “as states seek waivers under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, one effect may be to chip away at the dominance reading and math have had when it comes to school accountability.”

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