*DISCLAIMER: Please do not take this statement as an endorsement of high stakes testing. I find tests to be outdated, inaccurate portrayals of teaching and learning, and as many states are eliminating them for other choices, I am applauding it and roasting marshmallows over the fires built on old testing policies. Nevada has eliminated most high school proficiency tests, opting for requiring all students to take the ACT instead. There isn't a minimum score that a student must earn; the only requirement is that a student takes the test as a requirement for graduation. Unfortunately, there are still numerous tests at the elementary and middle school levels in Nevada, with no end to those tests in sight. The only reason I bring up the lack of high stakes test for social studies in many states is to highlight the lack of emphasis on the subject area in comparison to others.
This past week was a big week in emphasizing socials studies in my world. It started on Monday when I hosted #nvedchat (Follow @NevadaEdChat on Twitter and join us every Monday at 8 PM Pacific). My topic for this week's chat was Social Studies Across Curriculum. The focus of the chat was why social studies are important, the responsibility of educators to mold prepared citizens, and how social studies can be addressed in other areas. The participants of the chat were from all educational backgrounds and roles, with a resounding consensus that social studies are very important in a complete education. Follow the #nvedchat hashtag and check the tagboard for previous chats and other interesting bits that people post about education.
If you are reading this, most likely you already believe the importance of social studies. Whether it is history, government, economics, sociology, all aspects of social studies have a profound effect on individuals on a daily basis. The more informed one is, the more prepared for what lies out there in the real world. How else can you question authority?
If you are a social studies teacher, keep fighting the good fight and mold as many as you can into amazing citizens. If you aren't a social studies teacher (nobody is perfect, haha), ask yourself what you can do to incorporate social studies into your curriculum.
Until next time...