Social studies teachers all over the country had been looking forward to Saturday afternoon. Well . . . maybe just me but pretty sure there were others as well.
Saturday was the day that the Council of Chief State School Officers was scheduled to release their public draft of the new C3 national social studies standards. At the National Council for the Social Studies national conference. In front of the entire social studies nation. In front of lots of social studies teachers from all over the nation.
Did we get ’em?
Nope. What we got was 50 minutes of introducing the writing committee, listing the states involved in the writing, and basically filling time until they officially told the audience that
. . . hmm, we didn’t bring the standards with us.
I think most of us knew ahead of time that the document wasn’t done yet. But it was still disappointing. Apparently some of the latest reviews suggested a few extra changes. I suppose it’s better to get it right rather than get it, you know, on time.
The writing committee did pass out a Vision for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards. And it’s a handy document that provides a nice sense of the final document’s structure:
- Dimension 1. Developing Questions and Planning Investigations
Students will develop questions as they investigate societal issues, trends, and events.
- Dimension 2. Applying Disciplinary Concepts and Tools
Students will analyze societal issues, trends, and events by applying concepts and tools from civics, economics, geography, and history.Dimension 3. Gathering, Evaluating, and Using Evidence
- Dimension 3. Gathering, Evaluating, and Using Evidence
Students will work toward conclusions about societal issues, trends, and events by collecting evidence and evaluating its usefulness in developing causal explanations.
- Dimension 4. Working Collaboratively and Communicating Conclusions
Students will draw on knowledge and skills to work individually and collaboratively to conclude their investigations into societal issues, trends, and events.
And while we’re not completely sure what the final document will look like, we are sure that it will be an expansion of the four dimensions listed above – not a list of specific content. You will not find units on the Civil War, the Great Depression, or any people, places, and events for that matter.
The C3 Framework will focus primarily on inquiry and concepts, and will guide — not prescribe — the content necessary for a rigorous social studies program.
The final document is designed to help states re-design their own standards to focus on historical thinking skills and college/career readiness.
The forthcoming framework, to be released in 2013, will be a significant resource for all states to consider in their local processes for upgrading state social studies standards, rather than set standards for states to adopt.
This is why I’m disappointed. We’re very close to finishing our own state standards revision and it would been handy to have had the document’s ideas. I think we’ve got a state document that does a great job of encouraging high levels of historical thinking but some validation from the national group woulda been nice.
Oh, well. I’m a Kansas City Chiefs fan. I’ve learned to live with disappointment.
I suppose I can wait.