Q: Congratulations, Chanda Robinson, on being elected to the NCSS Board of Directors. When did you first hear about NCSS, and what drew you to join the association?
In 2001, the social studies consultant of Richland One, Jane Eason, suggested to me as a young social studies teacher to join South Carolina Council of Social Studies and present at the annual conference. This was my first reference to SCCSS and NCSS, since then I have been an avid member. In 2006, I became a member of the Council of State Social Studies Specialists (CS4), an NCSS Associated Group.
Q: Is there a person that inspired you to enter the field of education and/or social studies? If so, please tell us about that.
My maternal grandmother and countless other teachers, church members and friends influence my decision to enter the field of education and social studies. Grandma made my sister and I watched the local and national evening news with Walter Cronkite and later Dan Rather every night until I graduated from high school. Every Sunday evening it was mandatory to watch 60 minutes, my grandmother’s voice would ring-out, “Chanda and Kim it is time to get your lesson…60 minutes is coming on…come sit down and watch.”
Q: What is the most significant issue currently confronting social studies education and how would you address this issue?
The most significant issue currently confronting social studies education is the merging of federal and state accountability systems that are eliminating social studies accountability and state-wide assessments. The overall perception of the importance of ELA and mathematics has overshadowed the social studies. Since the standardized tests focus exclusively on English and math, and those scores determine the bulk of a school’s federal funding, schools have been forced to increase time and resources in these subjects at the expense of all others, including social studies. We must as the national organization for social studies increase our lobbying efforts at the state and national level, sounding the alarm for the revitalization of social studies as the CORE subject.
Through social studies, we not only allow for students to learn the content of history, economics, political science, geography, etc., but we explore and explicitly teach the skills necessary for students to read, write, speak, listen and view in each of the aforementioned disciplines. Disciplinary literacy, understanding bias and perspective, and providing a climate of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication to flourish are also important characteristics of the social studies classroom. Finally, social studies allows for students to build their life and career characteristics through the use of inquiry, current events that affect our nation and world, and the human story as one of perseverance.
Chanda Robinson's Biography
Chanda is a social studies educator with over 20 years of experience who has sought to empower teachers and students through historical, geographic, civic and economical thinking. A graduate of the University of South Carolina undergraduate 1995 and graduate studies 1999, Chanda's teaching career begin in Prince George's County School District in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. After one school year she returned to Columbia, SC., where she was employed by Richland School District One as a social studies teacher at W.J. Keenan High School. Chanda also worked as an adjunct professor of African American Studies at Benedict College from 2003-2006. She worked at the South Carolina Department of Education as the Education Associate of Social Studies and African American Studies from 2006-2012. She was very instrumental in the state receiving an A letter rating on the state’s academic standards for social studies and an A letter rating for the inclusion on African American Studies and the Civil Rights Movement beginning in the 1950’s. She is currently employed as the secondary social studies curriculum consultant for Richland County School District One Columbia, South Carolina. Chanda is currently developing social studies curriculum documents that focus on the Inquiry Design Model and Understanding by Design (Jay McTighe).
Chanda Williams Robinson is married to Troy Robinson and they have one daughter, Jaidyn Simone.