ERIC Number: ED475583
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001
Content That Counts: Educating for Informed, Effective, and Responsible Citizenship.
If individuals agree that the primary purpose of schools is to educate young people for responsible citizenship, then people would expect to see the social studies given a prominent place in the curriculum. But examination of several educational publications and organizations shows that the social studies, unlike literacy, mathematics, and science, does not command a central position in the curriculum. Disciplines encompassed by the social studies are many, ranging from anthropology to sociology. What content counts? This paper calls for redirecting the social studies so that fragmentation is lessened and the focus is put upon significant ideas, major concepts, and the enduring, heuristic questions that distinguish the field. The paper cites the Preliminary Report of the National Commission on the High School Senior Year as one cogent call for refocusing the social studies. The report indicates what some of the outcomes of pre-collegiate social studies ought to be: "All will need a sense of history, an understanding of government and democratic values and an appreciation for how the arts and literature explain the human condition and expand its possibilities." The paper elaborates on the report's suggestions and also discusses the opinions and recommendations of some scholars in the social studies. Content is of significance for students. Content counts when it comes to what teachers know or their content mastery is a powerful determinant of how much and how well their students learn. The next decade will usher in the beginnings of a steady and significant increase in the number of school-age children in the United States. Three nationwide initiatives underway to improve teacher quality. (Contains 31 notes.) (BT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the California Council for the Social Studies (40th, Oakland, CA, March 9, 2001).