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Larry PaskaNational Council for the Social Studies is pleased to announce the selection of Lawrence Paska, Ph.D., as its new Executive Director. Dr. Paska will fill the vacancy created after the September departure of long-time Executive Director Susan Griffin.

On the Front Lines: Fighting for Social Studies in Framingham, MA

by Kerry Dunne

Framingham, Massachusetts, a diverse town of 65,000 residents west of Boston, is by no means the only place where students’ ability to receive a well-rounded education—which includes history/social studies taught by a properly licensed teacher—has been threatened. However, recent events there could serve as a helpful “case study” for other social studies advocates. A concerted effort by parents, faculty, and community members led to a reversal of a misguided plan to use teachers of English, math, and science to teach social studies at one of the district’s three middle schools.

In early June of 2016, the faculty at Fuller Middle School learned that two social studies teacher positions had been eliminated; lessons would be provided by other members of the instructional teams. Word quickly spread of this decision through parents’ Facebook groups. Moms and dads began to email members of the school committee (roughly equivalent to an elected school board), demanding equity of instruction and compliance with state and federal guidelines (re the use of properly certified teachers). The district responded with a hastily crafted, and vaguely worded memo about the decision. The “rationale” (re-stating that Fuller serves more immigrant students and emotionally and behaviorally challenged students than the other two middle schools in town) further enraged parents and other community members, who then began to coordinate their protest efforts.

C3FrameworkCover.gifTSSP provides occasional updates about the use of the C3 Framework (www.socialstudies.org/c3) in various states and the District of Columbia. Here are three short, recent reports:

CALIFORNIA: It’s apparent that the California Department of Education has informally used many of the ideas in the C3 Framework, but there is no formal plan or advocacy on using the document from the state level. The newly adopted (July 2016) California History-Social Science Framework (HSS) (www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/cf) does directly reference the C3 Framework in the introduction chapter that has a section on "Inquiry." Unfortunately, the California Dept. of Education does not advocate or promote any specific professional development activities in HSS, nor does it have any means to direct the way that HSS is taught at the local school districts. 

   The current standards address content.  Literacy and skills (writing, critical thinking, etc.) are only peripherally addressed; however, the newly approved state framework for History-Social Science in California reinforces the skills and methodology of the C3 Framework and the Common Core ELA standards. It’s noteworthy that California legislation requires instruction to provide access and equity for all students and multicultural perspectives with “fair, accurate, inclusive and respectful representations of all people including those with disabilities, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in the history and social studies curriculum.” (See the news release of July 14, 2016, at www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr16/yr16rel49.asp.)

Frances L. Kidwell, Education Consultant/Curriculum Specialist, California State University Faculty.

NCSS member Holly Kartchner, a teacher at Blackfoot High School in Blackfoot, Idaho, was honored as one of three 2016 American Lawyers Alliance Teachers of the Year during their annual meeting in August. Each teacher is recognized for having “made outstanding contributions in the field of law-related education.” The teachers spoke about the programs they’ve implemented at their respective schools, which is always the highlight of the awards ceremony. Holly worked with students to embrace the ideal stated by President Theodore Roosevelt who observed, “The long term stability of a republic depends upon the average citizenship of a nation.”  But if our youth do not understand the functions of our constitutional democracy, then our system of government will deteriorate. Some observers say that could be happening now. Holly states, “I believe the more young people understand our governmental system, the more likely they are to be contributing members of society.”

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) recognized the Lessons on the Law column of Social Education as one of the best columns in publications for preK-12 educators in 2015. The awards program is called the "Revere" awards program, organized by the AAP's preK-12 Learning Group. This group is the successor to the former Association of Educational Publishers, which has given NCSS publications honors and awards in the past. 

See the collection of recent Lessons on the Law Columns

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) is seeking a highly qualified, motivated, and engaging Executive Director. Starting salary: $110,000.

Qualifications

All candidates should have proven leadership and staff management experience. Concrete demonstrable experience and other qualifications include:

India MeisselIndia Meissel, teacher at Lakeland High School in Suffolk has been elected vice president of National Council for the Social Studies and is in line to become NCSS President 2018-2019.

The National Council for the Social Studies National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers are intended to provide guidance for a number of different audiences who are either responsible for assuring the competence of social studies teaching professionals (e.g., institutions of higher education, NCATE/CAEP reviewers, state agencies that approve teacher education programs, state licensure offices, testing organizations) or in need of such assurance as they decide which teacher preparation institution to attend or which prospective teachers to employ (e.g., prospective soci

Terry Cherry, teacher at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, TX has been elected as vice-president of National Council for the Social Studies and is line to assume the NCSS presidency 2017-2018. Terry has previously served a term on the NCSS board of directors. He has also served on the boards of the Texas Council for the Social Studies and Garland Garland Council for the Social Studies, including terms as president of each.

Also elected to three-year terms on the NCSS Board of Directors are:

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