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Executive Director's Message

Executive Director's Message: "Virtual Learning"

I hope you and your communities are keeping safe as many of us continue adjusting to work, recreation, and life mostly at home, and increasingly online. I posted my last message nearly a month ago, which feels like a lifetime ago. At that time, I shared plans to move upcoming NCSS meetings online to keep members and staff safe as most of the country began to shelter in place. Since then, we have also moved forward to move major summer programs online.

Executive Director's Message: "COVID-19 and Our Priorities in Action"

As I write this message, our global society has undergone rapid transformations in how we live, work, and play – all in the span of a few weeks. When I wrap my head around these changes, I begin to wonder which will endure, and how they will impact our civic life, our general human connections, and our roles, responsibilities, and values.

Executive Director's Message: "Civic Learning: A Matter of Equity"

Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John G. Roberts, Jr., closed out the 2010s and welcomed the 2020s with powerful words in his 2019 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary:

“Civic education, like all education, is a continuing enterprise and conversation. Each generation has an obligation to pass on to the next, not only a fully functioning government responsive to the needs of the people, but the tools to understand and improve it.” 

Executive Director's Message: "The Time Between Conferences"

As we continue to reflect on our recent conference in Austin – and to advance informed action, agency, advocacy, and activism in the social studies – we also begin to establish our vision for the next 100 years through our next conference in Washington, D.C. Planning an annual conference is, quite literally, a year-round process involving hundreds of volunteers, thousands of volunteer hours, and detailed coordination among numerous moving parts.

Executive Director's Message: In Medias Res

As NCSS once again supports the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) as a Media Literacy Week partner, we are reminded of how media literacy is a fundamental part of inquiry-based social studies learning. We demonstrate media literacy whenever we use a source of information as evidence to ask and answer questions about the world around us.

Executive Director's Message: "Junior is Here!"

Recently, I remembered the anticipation, excitement, and jitters of setting up my middle school classroom. I was very fortunate to be in the same classroom every year. In that pre-dawn era without wi-fi and laptop carts, a big challenge was figuring out how to decorate the space and manage the desks and tables with new artifacts, pictures, posters, and other things collected from summer travels and study experiences.

Social Studies in Congress

Last week, I announced that a new Senate bill, S. 2024 - USA Civics Act of 2019, was introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX). This bill amends a portion of the Higher Education Act. If you have not already done so, I urge you to contact the education aides of your U.S.

Summer Reading

My birthday is in July. As a social studies educator who spent most of his life in New York, I always took pride in the fact that my birthday falls on the same day that New York ratified the U.S. Constitution (although not in the same year, of course). Last July, I announced a personal challenge to read one book per week as my “new year” goal. For the first month, I regularly shared the title and short impressions of the previous week’s book. Then my postings trailed off. This was not because I made a lofty but unrealistic resolution.

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