Students will acquire the basic knowledge of the social sciences in order to understand and respect the interrelationships of human events, behaviors, beliefs and accomplishments of the past and present (facts, concepts and generalizations).
Students will gain the ability to research, analyze and process information about the political, economic, cultural, and environmental aspects of societies of the past, present and future.
Students will use a variety of thinking skills to make informed and rational decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society within the context of a global community.
Students will develop, demonstrate and evaluate personal beliefs andattitudes based on their awareness of a variety of belief systems in our pluralistic, global community. Students will demonstrate their personal beliefs and attitudes by a) acting upon them; b) showing respect and tolerance; and c) making a personal commitment.
Students will apply the knowledge and skills necessary for responsible, active participation in our democratic society, and in social or work groups.
BEST PRACTICES - INCREASE
In-depth study of topics in each social studies field, in which students make choices about what to study, and discover the complexities of human interaction
Emphasis on activities that engage students in inquiry and problem solving about significant human issues
Student decision-making and participation in wider social, political, and economic affairs, so that they share a sense of responsibility for the welfare of their school and community
Participation in interactive and co-operative classroom study processes that bring together students of all ability levels
Integration of social studies with other areas of the curriculum
Richer content in elementary grades, building on the prior knowledge children bring to social studies topics: This includes study of concepts from psychology, sociology, economics, and political science, as well as history and geography. Students of all ages can understand, within their experience, American social institutions, issues for social groups, and problems of everyday living
Students' valuing, and sense of connection with, American and global history, the history and culture of diverse social groups and the environment that surrounds them
Students' inquiry about the cultural groups they belong to, and others represented in their school and community, to promote students' sense of ownership in the social studies curriculum
Use of evaluation that involves further learning and that promotes responsible citizenship and open expression of ideas
BEST PRACTICES - DECREASE
Cursory coverage of a lock-step curriculum that includes everything but allows no time for deeper understanding of topics
Memorization of isolated facts in textbooks
Isolation from the actual exercise of responsible citizenship; emphasis only on reading about citizenship or future participation in the larger social and political worlds
Lecture classes in which students sit passively: Classes in which students of lower ability levels are deprived of the knowledge and learning opportunities that other students receive
Narrowing social studies activity to include only textbook-reading and test-taking
Assumption that students are ignorant or uninterested in issues raised in social studies
Postponement of significant curriculum until secondary grades
Use of curriculum restricted to only one, dominant cultural heritage
Use of curriculum that leaves students disconnected from, and unexcited about social studies topics
Assessments only at the end of a unit or grading period; assessments that test only factual knowledge or memorization of textbook information