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NGA and CCSSO Draft of the “Common Core State Standards for ELA and Literacy in History/Social Studies and Science"

Last week, in a last minute effort NCSS contacted its state affiliate, associated group, community and listservs with an urgent request to submit feedback at regarding National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers’ draft of the “Common Core State Standards for English Laguage Arts (ELA) and Literacy in History/Social Studies and Science.”

NCSS was not involved in the development of the ELA standards draft, and due to time constraints and other issues, was not able to provide an “official” position on this new development. However, NCSS did feel it was very important for social studies educators to weigh in on the ELA standards draft, especially since sections on “Literacy in History/Social Studies and Science” have been included. NCSS asked individuals to consider the following issues and improvement points when providing their own, individual, feedback:

Key issues:

  • The inclusion of History/Social Studies has the potential to lead people to believe that there are common core standards for social studies when they are, in fact ELA standards.
  • A separate social studies Common Core document is needed.
  • NCSS is working hard with various social science organizations to get The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governor’s Association to develop a complete set of Common Core State Standards for Social Studies. (See attached background information document.)

Suggestions for improvement:

  • Examples of informational text in grades K-5 could be strengthened to include more non-fiction references.
  • Eliminate the terms "History/Social Studies and Science" in the title of the document – otherwise it is implied that the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts encompasses History/Social Studies and Science.
  • Educators need separate Common Core standards for social studies and science. History/social studies and science were largely marginalized under "No Child Left Behind" and we do not want that to occur again.
  • Refer to "History/Social Studies" within the document as "social studies". A number of national civics, history, geography, and economic organizations had reached consensus on the use of the term "social studies" and this document should reflect that in its narrative.
  • Titles of history/social studies texts in Appendix B largely reflect Anglo/Western historical perspectives and events -- selections need to reflect the perspectives, historical events from all groups from around the world in time and space.

If you would like to become involved and receive future Action Alerts please visit and subscribe to the NCSS Legislative Listserv.

Thanks to all that submitted their feedback – Let’s continue to make our social studies voices count!

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