Social Studies Gets the Short End of the Stick, Again ⇢
Chancellor Meryl Tisch and the New York State Board of Regents seemed determined to purge social studies and the study of history from the New York State elementary and middle school curriculum. First they dropped 5th and 8th grade social studies assessments for academic year 2010-2011 to help close a budget deficit.
Now, according to recommendations made by Deputy Commissioner Jon King, they want to integrate social studies and art into the England/Language Arts curriculum, which given testing pressure, means schools and students can kiss art and history goodbye.
Tisch and the Regents justify the attack of history and the social studies as part of their response to Race to the Top (the top of what is not clear). Because the federal government does not mandate history and social studies assessments and does not monitor the scores, New York is free to lower the standards in these areas to the level of Mississippi and Alabama — unless the public loudly protests.
The purge of history would also be extended to the high schools, where under the latest proposal, students would no longer be required to take standardized Regents assessments in global history and United States history. Instead, they could chose from a menu of exams that would allow them to avoid history altogether. In addition, they are proposing that districts and students be charged for tests, which will mean students opt to take fewer exams and fewer subjects.
What. This is so ridiculous.
It frustrates me that non-tested subjects are being ignored and marginalized (obviously this extends beyond social studies, but this will be my focus here). Interdisciplinary planning across language arts & social studies curriculum can assist in developing all of the skills that policymakers want to boost test scores in in testing language arts. I mean, we do read & write in social studies. Analyzing primary sources, recognizing and addressing bias, researching and writing essays…it is not merely about memorizing facts. I also truly believe we need social studies in today’s globalized society to create students that are aware and educated about the world around them and what created that world. Despite today’s culture of high stakes testing, I didn’t expect it to go this far.
Source: The Huffington Post