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Wed Aug 17, 2016, 09:55 AM

Social Studies.

I posted this in GE, in the "Swimming's Racist History" thread, and the OP asked me to make it it's own post:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10028099669#post16

It's basically about the way the high stakes testing, standards, and accountability movement has downplayed the importance of what's not tested, which includes Social Studies.

Obviously, for the record, I think SS is important. Here is what I posted:

My brain is wandering down a familiar path for me, reading this. I think this is a great article. I am not black. I don't have that collective memory; I have my own memories, as a little white girl in a racist culture, with my mom leading me outside the racist norms of the time to grow up as far outside that culture as she could get me.

But the real path this takes me down is professional. I'm a teacher. I teach both English and Social Studies.

The problem lies here: My last 3 principals over the last decade, outside of the current brand-new principal, have all told me to quit teaching Social Studies. Literally to quit teaching it because it wasn't tested. When I've asked what they'd like me to put on the report card where it says "Social Studies," they told me to "fake it." Really.

So for so many years, I've been sneaking SS in on the sly, integrating it into what we were doing for English, and always backing whatever we were doing up with reading and writing standards. In this modern culture of competition instead of collaboration, it helped that my students outscored the rest of the district on the fucking test, so they didn't pay that much attention to what I was doing.

This year, the new principal has actually given me overt permission to teach SS. So I'm working this summer on planning that out for the year. Great news for my students.

My point, though, is this. Much of our country really has no clue what the ugly history you have faced as AAs in this country is. No fucking clue whatsoever. They know almost nothing about the general history of their country or how their government works, and they know nothing at all about the world. I'm sure there are still places where they regularly teach history and government out there, but it's not tested, so it's not emphasized. My students, when they get to high school, will be required to take a couple of classes. Those couple of classes can't make up for years of nothing. And, of course, even when history has been taught, it often doesn't include AA history, or glosses over it on a speedy surface level.

So movies, tweets, whatever it takes to get the story out there while the high-stakes testing movement keeps a lid on Social Studies...we need more of them.

This year, the new principal has actually given me overt permission to teach SS. So I'm working this summer on planning that out for the year. Great news for my students.

My point, though, is this. Much of our country really has no clue what the ugly history you have faced as AAs in this country is. No fucking clue whatsoever. They know almost nothing about the general history of their country or how their government works, and they know nothing at all about the world. I'm sure there are still places where they regularly teach history and government out there, but it's not tested, so it's not emphasized. My students, when they get to high school, will be required to take a couple of classes. Those couple of classes can't make up for years of nothing. And, of course, even when history has been taught, it often doesn't include AA history, or glosses over it on a speedy surface level.

So movies, tweets, whatever it takes to get the story out there while the high-stakes testing movement keeps a lid on Social Studies...we need more of them.

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Reply Social Studies. (Original post)
LWolf Aug 2016 OP
niyad Aug 2016 #1
eppur_se_muova Aug 2016 #2

Response to LWolf (Original post)

Wed Aug 17, 2016, 10:17 AM

1. k and r, with deepest thanks.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Wed Aug 17, 2016, 07:21 PM

2. American "culture" values money, not people.

That's why schools are reduced to training minimal wage earners, rather than growing informed citizens.

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