ERIC Number: ED204199
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Nov
Reforming the Social Studies: An Exploration of Failure.
Keels, Oliver M., Jr.
Various explanations are explored for the alleged failure of social studies educators to redefine and restructure the high school social studies curriculum in light of indications at various periods throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries that changes were imminent. The author alleges that most reforms, including the 1916 Committee on the Social studies decree, failed to reform the social studies because they sought to merge content and social action without basically altering the social studies curriculum or changing the labels of the traditional disciplines. Historically, since the late 19th century, secondary level social studies has been a body of subject content and textbook material gleaned from social scientific and historical research and writings. For the most part, content has been based on history and political science and has consisted largely of descriptive material and non-controversial generalizations. The general pattern that developed was that high school students followed a curriculum based on one year of government or civics and two years of history (one of which was U.S. history). Findings from a review of historical trends indicates that there is a tendency for education to reflect the concerns that society directs toward schools. The conclusion is that there is a broad social perception that the basic structure of the social studies is just not in need of change, in spite of numerous and frequent demands for reform by social studies educators. One explanation offered for this acceptance of the status quo is that social studies already meets the public demand for an authoritative statement of subject matter. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies (60th, New Orleans, LA, November 26-29, 1980).