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1. Articles of Incorporation, Constitution & Elections

1.1 NCSS Articles of Incorporation (1939) As Amended (1964)

We, the undersigned, Howard C. Hill, John R. Davey, and Rolla M. Tryon, citizens of the United States, propose to form a corporation under an Act of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, entitled, 'An Act Concerning Corporations,' approved April 18, 1872, and all Acts amendatory thereof; and for the purpose of such organization we hereby state as follows, to-wit:

  1. The name of such corporation is NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE SOCIAL STUDIES.
  2. The purpose of the corporation is to promote the study of the problems of teaching the social studies to the best advantage of the students in the classroom, to encourage research, experimentation, and investigation in these fields; to hold public discussions and programs; to sponsor the publication of desirable articles, reports, and surveys; and to integrate the efforts of all of those who have similar purposes through the efforts and activities of its members and their cooperative activities with others interested in the advancement of education in the social studies.
  3. The management of the corporation shall be vested in a board of such number of directors as may from time to time be specified in the bylaws (now designated 'Constitution') of the corporation, provided that there shall be no less than three directors at any time.
  4. The corporation shall be exclusively a charitable, scientific and educational corporation within the meaning of Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as currently in effect or as hereafter amended from time to time, provided, however, that the corporation shall not operate a post-secondary educational institution or vocational school, nor shall it be authorized to receive any child for care or placement apart from its own parent or guardian.
  5. The corporation is not organized for profit or pecuniary benefit. It is a membership corporation without stock or stockholders. No part of the revenue or income of the corporation shall inure, either directly or indirectly, to the benefit of any member, officer, employee, or any private individual or to the benefit of any corporation or organization, any part of the net earnings of which inure to the benefit of any private individual, provided, however, that this shall not prevent payment of reasonable compensation for services actually rendered to or for the corporation in effecting its purposes.
  6. The corporation shall not, directly or indirectly:
    1. Devote any substantial part of its activities to the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation; or participate or intervene, by the publication or distribution of statements or otherwise, in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office;
    2. Make any accumulation of income unreasonable in amount or duration or invest income in any manner to jeopardize the fulfillment of the objects of the corporation;
    3. Engage in any activity affecting the corporation's right to full tax exemption as a charitable, scientific or educational organization under Federal laws or the laws of states or local governmental bodies;
    4. Make any loan to any of its officers or directors; nor shall it, directly or indirectly, devolve any pecuniary or economic benefit upon any member, sponsor, donor, creator, director, officer, or employee by reason or virtue of, or through;
    5. The loan of any part of its income or property to any such person or organization without the receipt of adequate security and a reasonable rate of interest; or
    6. The purchase of any property from any such person or organization for more than adequate consideration in money or money's worth or the sale to any such person or organization for less than adequate consideration in money or money's worth or other transaction with any such person or organization which might result in the diversion of the income or property of the corporation.
  7. If, at any time, the corporation shall cease to carry out the purposes as herein stated, all assets and property held by it, whether in trust or otherwise, shall, after the payment of its liabilities, be paid over to the National Education Association of the United States for its charitable and/or educational organization. If the said National Education Association is not then so exempt, the net assets, as aforesaid, shall be transferred to an organization with federal tax exemption for charitable and educational uses and purposes similar to those of this corporation, which exempt organization shall be designated by the final Board of Directors of the Corporation; if the Board of Directors is unable to select such an organization, the net assets shall be transferred to the United Givers Fund, or the then similar organization, for its charitable uses and purposes.
  8. The following persons are hereby selected as the Directors to control and manage said corporation for the first year of its corporate existence, viz.:

    C. C. Barnes, 467 W. Hancock St., Detroit, Michigan; Ruth West, Lewis and Clarke High School, Spokane, Washington; H. R. Anderson, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; H. E. Wilson, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Nelle Bowman, Central High School, Tulsa, Oklahoma; B. W. Phillips, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin; Erling M. Hunt, Columbia University, New York, New York; L. C. Marshall, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; W. H. Hathaway, Riverside High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; H. C. Hill, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; B. L. Pierce, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; J. M. Gambrill, Columbia University, New York, New York; A. C. Krey, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Edgar Dawson, Hunter College, New York, New York; R. M. Tryon, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; D. S. Morgan, Superintendent of Schools, Indianapolis, Indiana; W. G. Kimmel, J. C. Winston, Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; E. B. Wesley, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; R. O. Hughes, Board of Education, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; E. E. Ellis, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

  9. The location is in the city of Chicago in the county of Cook in the State of Illinois, and the post office address of its business office is at No. 5820 S. Kenwood Avenue in the said City of Chicago, Illinois.

Amended December 22, 1964
Isidore Starr, President
Merrill F. Hartshorne, Executive Secretary

1.2 NCSS Constitution

(1921) As Amended (1940, 46, 55, 56, 60, 61, 65, 68, 71, 75, 77, 86, 92, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)

Article I. Name and Purposes

Section 1. Name

This association shall be known as National Council for the Social Studies and is incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois. The term 'social studies' is used to include the social science disciplines and those areas of inquiry which relate to the role of the individual in a democratic society designed to protect his and her integrity and dignity and which are concerned with the understanding and solution of problems dealing with social issues and human relationships.

Section 2. Purpose

The purpose of the association is to promote the social studies to the best advantages of all students in the classroom; to promote the full and active participation in the social studies profession of men and women from all levels of education, all ethnic groups, and all geographic areas, urban, rural, and suburban; to encourage research, experimentation, and investigation in social studies; to hold public discussions and programs; to sponsor the publication of desirable articles, reports, and surveys; and to integrate the efforts of all those who have similar purposes through the efforts and activities of its members and their cooperative activities with others interested in the advancement of education in the social studies.

Article II. Organization

Section 1. Elective Officers

The elective officers of the National Council shall be chosen from the membership by according to a schedule and in a manner to be prescribed by the board of directors. They shall include a president, a president-elect, and a vice president. They shall assume office on July 1 following their election and shall hold their respective offices for the term of one year. There shall also be a secretary of the corporation and an executive director and treasurer appointed by the board of directors.

Section 2. President

The president shall have general charge of the affairs of the National Council and by virtue of the office shall chair the board of directors. It shall be the obligation of the president to promote in all suitable ways the best interests of the National Council.

Section 3. President-Elect; Vice President, Vacancies

The president-elect and the vice president shall assume such duties as the president or board of directors shall specify. In case of a vacancy in any officer position, the NCSS Executive Committee shall nominate an interim officer to fill the remainder of the vacant term. That nomination must be approved by the entire Board of Directors. If the interim appointment is a currently-serving officer (e.g., the Vice-President becoming President-Elect), the remaining vacant office shall be filled in the same manner. (amended 2010)

Section 4. Secretary

The secretary of the corporation shall maintain an office in the State of Illinois, shall receive legal notices sent to or served upon the National Council in its capacity as a corporation, and shall make the annual report to the secretary of state of Illinois as required by law.

Section 5. Executive Director and Treasurer

The executive director and treasurer shall be responsible for carrying out policies formulated by the board of directors, and as treasurer shall be the financial agent of the National Council for the Social Studies. The executive director shall make annual written reports to the board of directors. The executive director's salary, tenure, and specific responsibilities shall be determined by the board.

Section 6. Board of Directors

The board of directors shall consist of the president, the president-elect, and the vice president; 12 elected directors, 4 of whom shall be elected for a term of three years; and the immediate past president who shall serve a term of one year. The chairperson of the Steering Committee of the House of Delegates shall be an ex officio member of the board. The board shall have the power to appropriate funds from the treasury, to review the actions of officers and committees, to select the place for the annual meeting, and to exercise all powers not herein assigned to other officers or to the membership of the National Council. The board may determine nomination and election procedures providing that such procedures insure that board membership at all times includes: seven classroom teachers, of whom at least one is an elementary teacher, at least one is a middle level teacher, at least two are secondary teachers, and the remaining three chosen "at-large" with no designated grade level; at least one college or university teacher; and at least one social studies supervisor. The remaining three directors will be chosen "at large" with no designated category, grade level, or professional role NCSS student members preparing to fill any of these professional roles shall be eligible for nomination and election in any of the categories above.

Section 7. House of Delegates

A House of Delegates composed of representatives of all affiliated councils, associated groups and communities shall be established by the board of directors of the National Council for the Social Studies. This House of Delegates shall advise and consult with the officers and board of directors of the National Council for the Social Studies, and, in addition shall perform those functions as described in Section 5 of Article III.

Article III. Membership, Dues, Meetings and Publications

Section 1. Membership

Any person having a direct professional relationship with the NCSS may join as a comprehensive or regular member of the National Council and is eligible to vote for elective officers of the council, hold office, or be appointed to committees. Any college student having a professional relationship with the NCSS may join as a comprehensive, regular, or student member of the National Council and is eligible to vote for elective officers of the council, hold office, or be appointed to committees.

Section 2. Dues

The annual dues shall be determined by the board of directors. The payment of these dues entitles members to a year's subscription to the official periodical and to such other publications as the board of directors shall determine. It also entitles them to attend all public meetings, to vote for elective officers of the council, and to hold the offices to which they may be appointed or elected.

Section 3. Periodical

The board of directors shall have the power to select or establish the official periodical for the National Council. Until otherwise ordered, _Social Education_shall be the official periodical of the National Council.

Section 4. Board of Directors Meetings

The agenda for meetings of the board of directors shall be prepared cooperatively by the Steering Committee of the House of Delegates and the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. The NCSS president shall take the initiative in making the arrangements for the preparation of the agenda.

Section 5. House of Delegates as Business Meeting

The sessions of the House of Delegates held in connection with the major annual meeting shall constitute the annual business meeting of the House of Delegates. At such business meetings, any member of the NCSS in good standing shall have full right of debate, but only members of the House of Delegates shall have the right to vote. Meetings of the board of directors may be called by the president upon written notice through the office of the executive director. Other business meetings may be called by the president after due notice has been given to the membership.

Section 6. Annual Meeting

The date and place of the annual meeting shall be determined by the board of directors. The National Council may also cooperate with other professional organizations in the sponsorship of joint meetings providing that such cooperation is approved by the board of directors.

Article IV. Amendments

This Constitution may be amended by one of the following procedures:

I. Initiation by petition.

  1. An amendment may be proposed by a petition to the board of directors. To be valid, a petition must contain at least 50 signatures of current NCSS members. The signatories must be drawn from at least 5 states with a minimum of 5 members from each state represented. The petition must be received by the president and the executive director at least 60 days prior to the Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates at which action is requested. Upon receiving the petition, the executive director will determine whether the petition is valid with regard to requisite signatures of current members. The president, acting for the board of directors, will then direct the Steering Committee of the House of Delegates to include the amendment on the agenda for the next meeting of the House of Delegates.
  2. Approval by the House of Delegates. The first stage of amendment approval is conditional upon action by the House of Delegates. Approval of the amendment requires a two-thirds majority of the members of the House of Delegates voting during the annual business meeting of the House.
  3. Approval by the Membership. If the House of Delegates approves the amendment, it is then submitted to the total NCSS membership at the time of the annual election. To become effective, the amendment must be approved by a majority of NCSS members who vote on the amendment.

II. Initiation by House of Delegates.

  1. An amendment may be proposed by a majority vote of the members of the House of Delegates voting at the annual business meeting of the House of Delegates.
  2. Approval by the House of Delegates. An amendment must be ratified by a two-thirds majority of the members of the House of Delegates voting during the annual business meeting following the meeting at which the amendment was proposed.
  3. Approval by the Membership. If the House of Delegates approves the amendment, it is then submitted to the total NCSS membership at the time of the annual election. To become effective, the amendment must be approved by a majority of NCSS members who vote on the amendment.

Article V. Dissolution

No part of the net earnings of the Council shall inure to the benefit of any member, officer, or any private individual (except that reasonable compensation may be paid for services rendered in connection with one or more of its purposes), and no member, officer, or any private individual shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the assets of the Council, after payment of debts and obligations, shall be transferred to any successor social studies organizations as designated by the board of directors at the time of dissolution, provided these organizations are then exempt from federal income taxes as a charitable and/or educational organization. If no such organizations exist, the net assets shall be transferred to the United Way or the then similar organization, for its charitable uses and purposes.

1.3 Definition and Mission Statement

1.3.1 Definition

Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.

1.3.2 Mission Statement

Social studies educators teach students the content knowledge, intellectual skills, and civic values necessary for fulfilling the duties of citizenship in a participatory democracy. The mission of the National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators.

1.4 Nomination and Election Procedures for Officers, Board of Directors, and FASSE Board

1.4.1 Call for Nominations

1.4.1.1 The call for nominations and self-nominations, including the qualifications for board positions shall appear prominently in the Spring issue of The Social Studies Professional, be prominently posted on the NCSS website. The announcement shall also indicate the names of those retiring from the board and the names and addresses of those continuing on the board.

1.4.1.2 The deadline for submitting nominations to the Nominations and Elections Committee shall be April 15. The Nominations and Elections Committee and members of the Board of Directors should actively recruit men and women of all ethnic groups from urban, rural, suburban areas throughout the United States for all board categories to fulfill the NCSS statement of purpose regarding diversity of members. In the recruitment of nominees, the committee and board shall also consider a record of involvement and initiative in:

  • NCSS or affiliates' committees and/or activities.
  • State council(s) and, where appropriate, local and regional activities.
  • Other activities designed to promote and improve the quality of social studies education.

1.4.1.3 The nomination packets for open positions on the Board of Directors will be posted by NCSS staff to the NCSS website. Any NCSS member who meets the eligibility criteria is welcome to submit a completed nomination packet by email or hard copy to the Chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee.

The nomination packet for potential vice presidents shall include:

  1. Self-evaluation form.
  2. References for the potential candidate (one reference must be from a past member of the board of directors, and shall exclude current BOD members, Nominations and Elections Committee members, and the Executive Director).
  3. Evidence of leadership.

The nomination packet for potential board members shall include:

  1. Self-evaluation form.
  2. References for the potential candidate (one reference may be from a past member of the board of directors, and shall exclude current BOD members, Nominations and Elections Committee members, and the Executive Director).

Nomination applications for each candidate must include at least 2 letters of recommendation.

Candidates must indicate a single category for which they are to be nominated.

1.4.2 File Maintenance

1.4.2.1 The chairperson of the Nominations and Elections Committee shall keep the nominations packets and share with NCSS Staff.

1.4.2.2 The NCSS office shall assist the committee by keeping a supplementary data file and by furnishing whatever pertinent information is contained in the NCSS files. A folder of information submitted to the five previous years' Nominations and Elections Committee chairs shall be made available to the Nominations and Elections Committee alone.

1.4.3 Selection of Nominees by the Nominations and Elections Committee (See also Section 6.3.7, Nominations and Elections Committee)

1.4.3.1 Review Process

The Nominations and Elections Committee shall meet on or about May 1 with NCSS staff to review the nominations packets to determine if nominees have meet the required eligibility criteria. All nominees who meet the eligibility criteria will be added to the slate of potential candidates for open board positions. The slate will be forwarded to the Board of Directors for final approval. If the committee feels a candidate has not met the eligibility criteria, they must submit a rationale to the board. There is no limit to the number of eligible candidates for each position. If no one submits a nomination packet for an open position, the committee and board will actively recruit qualified candidates to submit a nomination packet by May 15. The committee and NCSS staff will review nomination packets for these positions. If nominees have met the eligibility criteria, they will be added to the list of potential candidates. Operating on a three-year schedule, the committee should nominate candidates for the following positions:

  • Year 1: vice president, elementary classroom teacher, secondary classroom teacher, 2 at-large (p-12 teacher, open at-large)
  • Year 2: vice president, middle level classroom teacher, College/University, 2 at-large (p-12 teacher, open at-large)
  • Year 3: vice president, secondary classroom teacher, supervisor, 2 at-large (p-12 teacher, open at-large)

1.4.3.2 Determining Eligibility

1.4.3.2.1 For purposes of nomination, elementary and secondary teachers are to be defined as persons actually teaching half- time or more in the classroom. College teachers are to be defined as college personnel who are half-time or more on a faculty appointment of a college or university, and are members of the College and University Faculty Assembly (CUFA). Supervisors are to be defined as school-, district-, or state-level personnel who are half-time or more responsible for the supervision or administration of social studies education programs, and are members of either the Council of State Social Studies Specialists (CS4) or the National Social Studies Supervisors Association (NSSSA). The category of at-large board members is open to department chairpersons, holders of administrative, supervisory, and project positions, or other professionals with a history of affiliation and support for NCSS. NCSS college student members preparing to fill any of these professional roles shall be eligible for nomination and election in any of these categories. (Amended 2019)

1.4.3.2.2 In order to be eligible as a candidate for president-elect or vice president, a person must have completed a full elected term on the board of directors before assuming office. A person who has served as chairperson of the House of Delegates Steering Committee, a position that entails ex officio membership on the board of directors, is also eligible to be nominated for either of these offices.

1.4.3.2.3 All potential candidates for board positions and officers must have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities and experience.

1.4.3.2.4 In order to be eligible to be a candidate for an NCSS Board or officer position, an individual must be an NCSS member.

1.4.3.3 Approval of the Slate of Candidates

1.4.3.3.1 The draft slate of potential candidates will be submitted to the Board of Directors prior to the June Board of Directors meeting for final approval. If the committee feels a candidate has not met the eligibility criteria, they must submit a rationale to the board.

1.4.3.3.2 The Board will evaluate the slate of potential candidates in executive session. Board members may delete or add additional candidates if it is proven that added candidates have met the eligibility criteria.

1.4.4 Announcement of Nominations

1.4.4.1 The Nominations and Elections Committee should notify each candidate before July 1 that he/she was selected as a candidate.

1.4.4.2 The slate of candidates shall be listed in a fall issue of The Social Studies Professional and posted to the NCSS website. The announcement will also include a statement explaining the process of nomination by petition.

1.4.4.3 The announcement shall indicate the names of those retiring from the board and the names and addresses of those continuing on the board.

1.4.4.4 A 200-word biographical sketch of each nominee, a 200-word position statement, and photograph must be submitted to the NCSS executive director by November 1 for inclusion in the ballot.

1.4.5 Nomination by Petition

A candidate who meets the eligibility criteria for vice president or membership on the board of directors may also be nominated by petition. The petition must carry the signatures of at least 150 NCSS members; and no member may sign more than one petition. The name of a candidate nominated by petition will be placed on the ballot with other nominees, in alphabetical order. Petition forms must be submitted to NCSS headquarters by October 1 accompanied by a 200-word biographical sketch, a 200-word position statement, and a photograph. These items should be similar to the model that accompanies the petition form obtained from the NCSS office.

1.4.6 Campaigning

1.4.6.1 Code of Conduct

Candidates must adhere to the NCSS code of conduct.

1.4.6.2 Unacceptable Practices

Candidates for elected positions in the NCSS and their supporters may not engage in the following campaign practices:

1.4.6.2.1 They may not use hospitality rooms or any similar event to solicit votes at the annual NCSS conference or the annual conference of any NCSS affiliated or associated organization.

1.4.6.2.2 They may not use or distribute posters, displays or other materials that promote their candidacy at any social studies conference.

1.4.6.2.3 Current members of the NCSS Board of Directors and Officers may not campaign for a specific candidate.

1.4.6.2.4 Candidates and their supporters may not use any NCSS created membership lists for campaigning purposes

1.4.6.3 Enforcement

Candidates who violate campaign policies will be subject to the following:

1.4.6.3.1 Candidates will be required to clarify or correct any materials which the NCSS Nominations Committee Chair feels violates campaign policies.

1.4.6.3.2 The NCSS Nominations Committee Chair will notify all other candidates if a violation of campaign policies is determined.

1.4.6.3.3 If a candidate refuses to comply with the decision of the NCSS Nominations Committee Chair, said candidate can be removed from the ballot by a majority vote of the Nominations Committee members.

1.4.6.4 NCSS Annual Conference Activities and Procedures

1.4.6.4.1 A candidates' forum on the NCSS Connected website will be developed for NCSS members to view candidates' presentations, read candidate statements, and engage in online dialogue with candidates.

1.4.6.4.2 Each candidate will be given a name badge (and/or ribbon) that clearly identifies them as a candidate (to be worn only during the Annual Conference). They may be approached by attendees to discuss their experience, positions, etc.

1.4.7 Voting and the Ballot (note: change in election schedule starts with 2016 election)

1.4.7.1 Members of NCSS in good standing as of October 15 shall be eligible to vote.

1.4.7.2 Provision shall be made on the ballot for write-in votes for each of the offices: president-elect, vice president, members in each category of the board of directors.

1.4.7.3 All NCSS members in good standing will be eligible to vote beginning on Monday following the annual conference. Members for whom NCSS does not have a contact email and those for whom the email notification is rejected will be sent notification and instructions via USPS mail. Members may opt to receive a paper ballot.

1.4.7.4 Votes must be submitted electronically or paper ballots received by January 15.

1.4.7.5 An outside independent contractor will e-mail election information and, receive returned ballots, count and tally results, and report those results to the chairperson of the NCSS Nominations Committee, and NCSS headquarters.

1.4.8 Announcing Election Results

1.4.8.1 Candidates and members of the board of directors shall be notified by the chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee immediately after the counting of ballots.

1.4.8.2 The results of the election will be announced to the membership both at the business meeting of the Delegate Assembly held at the time of the annual meeting, and in the Spring issue of The Social Studies Professional.

1.4.9 Filling Board Vacancies

In case of a vacancy on the board of directors, if the board decides to fill an unexpired term, the president, with the consent of the Executive Committee, shall appoint a person to fill the unexpired term.

1.5 Start of Terms

Newly-elected officers and board members will assume office on July 1.