Often, national stories on education will be covered by your local media, but remember, local reporters like to have a local angle!
Whenever negative comments are delivered nationally, take the offensive to demonstrate to the news media why that is not the case in your community. Prepare your thoughts and give reporters a call to offer your views.
Building your own Resource Collection
In promoting social studies, a number may be worth a thousand words. Try to use numerical data to emphasize your points. For example:
- A 1999 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the public's attitudes toward the public schools indicated that 90 percent or more of the respondents believed that all students in public schools should be taught such values as democracy; acceptance of people of different races and ethnic backgrounds; caring for friends and family members; moral courage; and patriotism/love of country.1
Although few social studies practitioners would have time to read all the applicable research, it is very helpful to develop a resource center of research-related information that you can draw upon when the need arises. A resource center doesn't require a building or even a full room. It could consist of a few key journals or important information shared via newsletters.
Data on Testing
Testing data can be a very effective resource in advocating support for existing programs or arguing for new programs. Sources include:
* National Assessment of Educational Progress (also known as the Nation's Report Card) http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.
* College Bound Senior Profile Report -- The College Board http://www.collegeboard.org.
* District and State Offices of Education publish reports on year-end testing
Attitudinal data can also be extremely helpful in supporting social studies. Some sources are:
- Gallup Poll of public opinion on public schools http://www.pdkintl.org
- The National Household Education Survey (NHES) http://nces.ed.gov/nhes
- The Metropolitan Life Survey of the American Teacher http://www.metlife.com.
- The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/heri/heri.html.
- Contact local television stations and newspapers to find out if results of any polls related to education are available to the public.
The following are helpful sources of information on state policy:
- National Survey of State Requirements Course Offerings and Assessment in Social Studies http://www.socialstudies.org/cs4.
- Social Studies Standards and Curriculum http://www.indiana.edu/~ssdc/stand.htm.
- Internet Sites of the State Legislatures http://www.ncsl.org/public/sitesleg.htm
- Education Commission of the States http://www.ecs.org.
- Quality Counts http://www.edweek.com/sreports/
Other Sources of Information
- ERIC/ChESS (Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouse on Social Studies/Social Science Education) http://www.indiana.edu/~ssdc/eric_chess.htm.
- NCSS Position Statements http://www.socialstudies.org/positions
- Professional organizations -- A list of professional organizations may be requested from NCSS Information Services.
The following is a list of journals that may be useful in your resource center:
- Journal of Economic Education
- Journal of Geography
- Phi Delta Kappan
- Social Education
- Social Science Quarterly
- Social Studies
- Social Studies and the Young Learner
- Teaching of Psychology
- Teaching History: A Journal of Methods
- Teaching Political Science
- Theory and Research in Social Education
- Theory Into Practice
In addition, many state and local social studies councils publish journals. Each year a contact list of council journal editors is published by NCSS in "Who's Who in Social Studies: Directory of Regional, State and Local Affiliated Social Studies Organizations." Contact NCSS at 301-588-1800 to request a copy.
1Gallup, Alec M. and Lowell C. Rose, "The 31st Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools," Phi Delta Kappan 81, 1 (September 1999), pp. 41-56.