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Getting Social

Dispatch from the Big Apple

​Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Greater Metropolitan New York Social Studies Conference. This is the annual conference of the Association of Teachers of Social Studies/United Federation of Teachers (ATSS/UFT), our affiliated council which serves educators in the New York City Department of Education. I have attended this conference for many years as a social studies curriculum specialist for the New York State Education Department and later as the President of the New York State Council for the Social Studies. It was a treat to return to my home state in my new capacity to learn from New York City educators –and to share our NCSS 2016 annual research findings in a session titled “What Our Students Have to Say About Social Studies: The State of the Social Studies in 2017.”

Social Studies: The Original STEM

This post is not a plea to add social studies to list of STEM disciplines.  “SSSTEM” does not roll off the tongue politely in conversation.  “STEMSS” is not a memorable acronym, either.  I also worry that if we add too many more disciplines to STEM, we’re just going to end up with a clunky acronym for the traditional 8-10 course school day.

Instead, this post is a thought that social studies education is the original STEM initiative.

Consider this definition of STEM:

The Second Century of Social Studies

It started to dawn on me this week that we are entering the second full century of social studies education as we know it.  Of course, there was not a specific date in which a formal resolution declared, “….there shall be a new subject called social studies taught in every classroom and in every grade level throughout the United States.”  History is seldom that neat and tidy.

Toward Student Engagement in Community

Each year, NCSS partners with MyCollegeOptions®, the nation’s largest college planning program, to survey high school students on their perceptions about their social studies experience. Teachers receive a survey about their school’s course requirements and instructional program; they also comment on membership in associations like ours, benefits they derive from membership, and their continuing professional learning needs.

Getting Social - The New Blog from Larry Paska

From New Year’s Resolutions to New Year’s Priorities

Many of us write a set of resolutions to help us plan for our start to the new year.  This year I had a little help in writing my resolutions: our new NCSS Strategic Plan.  The Strategic Plan identifies five Priorities – Collaboration, Communication, Innovation, Inclusiveness, and Influence & Leadership – which speak strongly to me as more than just a pledge for our organization’s future.  They frame my professional and personal commitment to social studies education in 2017.