“NCSS encourages, promotes and ensures inclusiveness that reflects society and strengthens civic life.” In 2018 this priority looms greater almost daily. How does a diverse national organization like NCSS fulfill this priority constructively and without offending or upsetting members, legislatures, parents, and the public?
We are a very diverse nation with educators supporting a variety of causes. The quote “you can’t please everyone” has merit, yet as a national organization we realize our obligation is to try to serve social studies teachers and their students in every community in America. The three details (a, b, and c) of Priority #4 of the Strategic Plan can help us navigate this terrain.
a. Provide opportunities for multiple viewpoints to be shared, supported and respected. We model this work at our NCSS Annual Conferences with the variety of sessions, clinics, tours, and speakers. Our publications offer information supporting various educational methods, ideas, and perspectives. Our Affiliated Councils and Associated Groups express a mixture of perspectives and thoughts in their programs, publications, and announcements. Our Rho Kappa Honor Society for high school students, and our Special Interest Communities open more doors for expression and communication. In short, NCSS members are encouraged to share their own viewpoints, and to practice listening to a variety of viewpoints.
b. Develop and regularly review policies and practices to ensure opportunities for underrepresented groups to actively participate in NCSS. At its March meeting, the NCSS Board of Directors approved a Position Statement, “Greater Inclusion of an Emphasis on Indigenous Peoples and Nations in the Social Studies Classroom,” as well as four Resolutions approved by the House of Delegates (HOD) in 2017 that involve reviewing policies and support for underrepresented groups.
17-02-1 Developing a Curriculum Program that Draws on Past and Current Models of Inquiry and Engagement
17-04-3 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; NCSS Support for Dreamers & Children of Undocumented Immigrants
17-04-4 NCSS to Encourage and Support School-wide and District-wide Programs that Promote and Model Respect for the Dignity and Humanity of Every Person
17-05-1 To Applaud the Rapid and Timely Posting on the NCSS Website on August 17, 2017, of the NCSS Statement on the Events Occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11–14, 2017 and Immediately Afterward on August 15–16, 2017, in Addition to Giving Useful Links to Materials and Resources for Classroom Discussion
c. Support efforts that ensure the social studies teaching profession is inclusive and diverse. That first resolution in the list (# 17-02-1) addresses point (c). We want our principles and priorities, ultimately, to be reflected in classroom curriculum that benefits all children in every grade.
This is a good moment to give all my readers a heads up! We are expanding your NCSS newsletter, The Social Studies Professional, to include more member participation, and to reach you, the professional educator, more often with timely news. TSSP will have a new look--optimized for mobile devices, and will arrive in your email twice a month. Watch for issues slated to be mailed (via MailChimp) on Wednesday April 11 and Thursday April 26. Back issues of TSSP are, of course, always available online, at www.socialstudies.org/publications/tssp.
In my President’s Address at the 97th Annual Conference in San Francisco, I used Katy Perry’s song Roar as my theme. NCSS needs to ROAR about what we are doing to promote inclusiveness. The NCSS members need to ROAR about how their professional organization “encourages, promotes and ensures inclusiveness that reflects society and strengthens civic life.”
There is truth in the quote, “you can’t please everyone.” That may be so, but NCSS will do its best to include everyone and allow all voices to be heard to strengthen civic life.
As always, I look forward to your comments, which you may send to email@example.com.