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From a previous post in October 2013, Common Core and the 2013 National Council for the Social Studies coming to St. Louis. Eye-Opening CCSS Aligned Topics.:

Did you know St. Louis is hosting the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in November 2013?  It is especially “exciting” with its emphasis on aligning Social Studies lessons with ELA Common Core standards.  From 93rd NCSS Annual Conference:

With the theme Gateway to the Core of Learning, the conference will feature more than 100 sessions addressing the Common Core ELA Standards for History/Social Studies, providing classroom-ready resources to help you meet the Common Core Standards, and provide great content across all social studies subjects: history, geography, economics, civics, social science, and behavioral science. The conference will also feature the new C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards. Join C3 writers, reviewers, contributors and others to explore this landmark document and get practical tips on how to use it.

For every social studies educator working with Common Core, literacy, and social studies standards, and for everyone looking for social studies content to transform and invigorate their teaching, the 2013 NCSS Annual Conference is the place to be!

We were intrigued with that last paragraph and thought every parent whose student is being impacted by Common Core, literacy, and social studies standards would be interested to know how social studies content is being transformed  and what their student is now learning through CCSS aligned ELA standards for History/Social Studies.

 

We agreed that 2013 NCSS Annual Conference is the place to be! and two moms with children in public school attended the conference and gathered information on the Social Studies and History curriculum aligned to CCSS standards.  The moms raised the $300 plus dollar registration fee (per attendee) to discover what their children might be learning in History/Social Studies class.  They did note that many teachers and administrators were from Missouri, so there is a good chance that some of this curriculum will be coming to  Missouri schools.

These moms are providing this information to Missouri Education Watchdog so other parents are aware of curriculum, content and concept presented at the conference.  3,500 people attended the conference, so this curriculum is disseminated to many teachers and administrators.  Parents (and school board members) need  to discover if this curriculum will be used or is currently being used in their schools.  We will be providing reports on what these moms heard and what they gathered from class sessions and vendors.

Today is an overview from one of these women, “just a mom”, who has concerns about what/how her children learn in their public schools.  We’ll call her “Faith”:

My name is “Faith” and I went to the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in St. Louis. For the first time in my life I now view education as a government run endeavor. I equate it with the IRS, the DOJ and all other government agencies. Before attending this conference I did not believe this way however now, coupled with the experiences my family has had the past few years with our school district, I am convinced. I went to the conference as an educator and mom. I do not have a degree in teaching however I teach my children on a daily basis. I have also previously home schooled my children who are now in elementary and middle school.

I believe the “social studies” are the study of geography, American history, world history and American government along with other forms of government and even some economics. I left the social studies conference with the understanding that now our children are being taught about social justice, equality, tolerance, becoming community activists for social change as well as what is and isn’t fair according to someone other than me (the parent). In addition, our children are learning about being a global citizen, not an American citizen. Many of the sessions I attended were plugging the United Nations and the Rights of the Child treaty. I heard over and over again the need for the U.S. to ratify this treaty.

I will likely go all over the place in my attempt to communicate what I witnessed, understood and fear from being at this conference. The sessions were broken down by age groups starting as young as pre-K. I attended a total of 11 sessions ranging from pre-K through high school plus the keynote speaker, Representative John Lewis from Georgia. Some sessions were blatantly plugging social change issues while others embedded their ideas within the curriculum they offer.

What are 21st century learners and what are 21st century skills? 21st century thinking is all about being a global citizen using skills like engaging, collaborating, problem solving and empowering. Much of what I witnessed was meant to grab our children’s emotions like fear and anger to incite action on their part. There is no basis of truth being taught for our children to pin their thoughts to, just a push toward raw emotions. There was an overall sense that teachers need to teach students how to look at the other side of things because no one else will, especially not in the home.

I left the conference feeling like social studies teachers see themselves as rebels with a cause. I call them rebels because they see themselves as largely ignored by academia with some schools not having social studies as a daily subject; a kind of sense that others in education don’t see their true importance. I say they have a cause because they are being armed and assigned the task of creating activists for specific causes and agendas.

Here is a recap of two of the sessions she attended:

“Can you say Hallelujah? Teaching about Religion in Schools” – Secondary Level – High School

I attended this session late after not being able to find the one I originally wanted to attend. This one stressed the need to teach students how to look at the other side and if teachers don’t get students to do it, no one will. It was stated that students certainly won’t learn it at home. This session is an example of embedding an agenda rather than teaching facts. One of the questions the curriculum seeks to answer is whether we are a country that actually separates church and state.

 

“I Could Make a Difference: Research and Theory on Fostering Adolescents’ Political Engagement and Efficacy” – This was an award winning session talking about how educators can prepare youth to become actively engaged citizens.

This session was not a curriculum centered session but a researcher sharing his findings on what educators can do to engage students in political participation. He did three studies, Civic Advocacy Class, Model United Nations and Factors influencing political efficacy. His first study with the civic advocacy class which was an opt in class took after the Center for Action Civics out of Chicago and Project Citizen which are groups and curriculum designed to engage students in taking civic action. His second study followed a group of students participating in Model United Nations. These students gathered with others to address global problems, draft resolutions, make speeches, and vote on issues. The third study focused on external political efficacy forcing government to respond. The educational implications of his findings showed providing opportunities to get involved politically along with support from teachers showing models of success supported the development of a student’s political skills. He plugged the Center for Action Civics, “The Issues to Actions” curriculum.

 

 

We’ll have more tomorrow on the other mom’s perspective about the NCSS conference.  We’ll also be providing periodically information about the presentations both moms attended.

 

 

 

 

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