May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
This article was originally posted at George Mason University’s History News Network. It is written by Craig Thurtell, a former teacher at Ardsley High School in Ardsley, New York.
By now, virtually every public school teacher has heard about the Common Core State Standards (referred to here as CCSS, the Standards, or the common core). Set forth in their final version in May of 2010, they claim to “represent a synthesis of the best elements of standards-related work to date and an important advance over that previous work.” (p. 3 of the CCSS) The CCSS have been adopted by 46 states so far for English language arts (ELA) and 45 for mathematics. They primarily address those two fields, but they fold other subjects, including history, into the ELA standards. As the Standards took shape, the National Council for the Social Studies expressed an understandable concern that they include a meaningful presence for social studies, but made no objection to their basic approach to reading and writing. The National Council for History Education was similarly concerned about the role of history, but concluded that “[t]he Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies focuses [sic] on deep and critical, discipline-specific reading, writing, and thinking at grades 6-12.” Rearguard resistance notwithstanding, in the states that have adopted them, school districts are advancing toward implementation, with testing set to begin in 2014-2015.