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The State of Social Studies in Ohio
Transcript of The State of Social Studies in Ohio
in Ohio "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."
-Northwest Ordinance, Article 3 "The General Assembly ... will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state...
- Ohio Constitution , 1851 Is Ohio fulling its constitutional obligation to provide a "thorough" system of education, when the subject that examines the past and what it means to be a good citizen is being marginalized? Can Ohio's political and educational leaders truly claim to be providing a "World Class"
Education System? Educating Ohio's Citizens for Tomorrow's World There have been several Federal and State laws enacted over the past decade that have further marginalized the importance of the social studies: Hamilton High School, Hamilton, Ohio (2002) NCLB requires periodic assessments in Reading, Math, and Science -- NOT THE SOCIAL STUDIES. Effectively making Social Studies the "subject left behind" in American Schools. Ohio SB 311 (2007) made Financial Literacy a requirement for graduation in Ohio, but a last minute amendment weakened the requirement. According to Amended Substitute SB 311, Ohio schools can opt to incorporate Financial Literacy into an existing course or create a Personal Finance course. Amended Substitute HB1 (2009) suspended the administration of the Ohio Achievement Assessment for Social Studies in Grades 5 and 8. HB 1 requires Social Studies and Science Assessments to be created for Grades 5 and 8. These assessments are to begin during the 2014-2015 school year. In September of 2012, the Ohio Department of Education has requested that the General Assembly change the Social Studies tests to Grades 4 and 6. Ted Strickland signs HB 1 in law at Thrugood Marshall High School in Dayton on July 17, 2009 HB1 also requires High School End-of-Course Exams for English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Since Ohio Revised Code specifically requires a 1/2 credit of United States History and a 1/2 credit of American Government, OCSS suspected that these would be the subjects tested for Social Studies back in 2009. The State Board of Education decided that each core subject will have 2 End-of-Course Exams. The Senior Project that was originally required for graduation under HB1 has been eliminated under Governor Kasich's Administration. Governor Kasich signed S.B. 165 into law on Friday, March 30, 2012. OCSS began advocating for the return of the 5th and 8th Grade OAA's for Social Studies and for World History / Studies to become a graduation requirement during the Summer of 2009. SB 165, also know as the Founding Documents bill was introduced during the Spring of 2011 and signed into Law on March 30, 2012. OCSS provided testimony as an interested party, because we believe that it is important for students to study the Founding Documents; however, we were (and remain) concerned about some of the language of the bill and its potential impact on Social Studies as a whole, including... The relegation of World History / Studies to a elective course for Ohio High School students and... ...changing the wording of the Ohio Revised Code to state that students must take a 1/2 credit of U.S. History, a 1/2 credit of American Government, and 2 Social Studies as a part of their graduation requirements. It previous stated that students needed to have 3 credits of Social Studies to graduate, including a 1/2 credit of U.S. History and a 1/2 credit of American Government. This change may seem minor, but it legally declares that History and Government are not Social Studies courses in Ohio (at least at the High School level). The sponsors of the bill had to make an amendment to the bill to allow licensed Social Studies teachers to teach these courses. This change was political and unnecessary, especially when there are greater concerns with Social Studies education in Ohio. SB 165 does not address another one of OCSS's major concerns--the suspension of Social Studies testing in grades K-8. Unfortunately, some schools will limit instructional time and resources for Social Studies to focus on tested subjects, like Reading, Math and Science. The scores on these tests are part of the calculation that determines a school's rating on the district report card. In other words, "what gets tested, gets done." SB 165 has also caused concern with the amount of instructional time needed to "thoroughly and efficiently" teach U.S. History and American Government at the High School level. OCSS warned legislators about this concern with our testimony, but it was ignored. In order to be in compliance with the new law, the Ohio Department of Education added additional content statements for the Founding Documents to high school U.S. History and American Government courses. There were no other adjustments to these course's model curriculum--just additions. The Founding Documents are good fit chronologically for the 8th Grade U.S. History Course, which covers America History from 1607 through 1877, but instead it was forced into the high school course that covers American History from 1877 through present day (requiring a special out-of-sequence unit at the beginning or end of the course). The revised Model Curriculum for grades 4 and 8, and U.S. History and American Government still leave questions about depth and specificity, when it comes to analyzing the Founding Documents (e.g. which of the 85 Federalist and 85 Anti-Federalist Papers are required). SB 165 does not require students to study Landmark Supreme Court cases and seems to reject the idea that the U.S. Constitution is a living document. What does the research say? The Fordham Institute has conducted studies on the State of State History Standards. Ohio received a "F" on World History in 2006 and a "D" for United States History in 2003 and 2011. The State of K-12 Social Studies Instruction in Ohio was published in Social Studies Research and Practice in November 2008. Key Findings of the 2012 Follow-up Study on the State of SS in Grades 3-5
1. The majority (67%) of administrators in this study were either relieved or ambivalent about the removal of the 5th grade social studies OAA.
2. At the same time, the majority of administrators (55%) expressed serious concern over possible short- and long-term impacts on social studies and related implications for citizenship education due to the elimination of the test.
3. The majority of administrators (54%) report social studies curriculum has been less emphasized and/or integrated into reading/language arts curricula since the elimination of the test. There is a definite pattern of marginalization of social studies in the elementary curriculum since the test elimination, with a trend toward integration of social studies content and concepts in the language arts and reading/writing curricula.
4. There is an uncertain level of commitment to retaining social studies at pre-test elimination levels in the 3rd-5th grade curriculum that appears dependent on districts and administrators.
5. Principals reported varied classroom impacts with the elimination of the test of both better/more social studies teaching and less/worse social studies teaching.
6. Nearly 32% of administrators report that less time has been spent on social studies, since the elimination of the test, while 61% said there was little change. The OCSS Executive Board would like to thank the members of OPSSE for conducting this research on behalf our member teachers and look forward to the final report later this summer. This report is a follow-up to a 2008 study by OPSSE, entitled The State of K-12 Social Studies Instruction in Ohio. The 2008 study showed that there were modest gains in instructional time during the years the OAA’s were administered in grades K-5, where more teachers began spending at least 1—2 hours per week teaching social studies. This same study pointed out that K-8 teachers ranked social studies as the 4th most import subject area for students. It was also interesting that K-12 social studies teachers stated that basic content knowledge and critical thinking were the most important still skills learned in social studies. The key findings reported in the most recent study (2012) confirm the status of social studies has not improved and that we need to remain vigilant and continue to advocating for social studies for our students and nation’s future. Is the marginalization of Social Studies a National Issue? YES! Most states face similar or worse situations in regards to the marginalization of the Social Studies, and funding has been cut to Federal programs, like Teaching American History Grants, Center for Civic Education, National Economics Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Have there been positives for Social Studies Education in Recent Years? Yes! Teaching American History Grants have improved History Education across the country through scholarship and the practical application of Historical Thinking Practices. Programs have emerged and public organizations and private companies have focused on Document Analysis and Historical Thinking in the products they create, such as... National History Clearing House The New Social Studies Standards include Historical Thinking and other critical literacy, numeracy, and thinking skills in the new model curricula developed by the Ohio Department of Education. ODE has also developed 3 World Studies Course for the High School Level: Modern World History, Contemporary World Issues, and World Geography (all are elective courses at this time). The English Language Arts Common Core Curriculum has a special section of standards designed for Social Studies, Science, and other Technical Subjects, and it emphasizes the importance of Reading, Writing, and Speaking across the curriculum. OCSS sees the emphasis on reading informational text, writing, and research in the ELA standards as a perfect match to the Historical Thinking and other essential Social Studies Skills. Making Social Studies a great option for increasing students exposure to non-fiction texts. The Ohio Resources Center has added a Social Studies Curriculum Consultant, resources, and blog to allow Social Studies Teachers to collaborate. Senator Coley from Butler County sponsored a Law to help 4th Grade Students take field trips to the Ohio Statehouse by providing grants to pay for part of the school's transportation costs. What needs to be done to "Save and Strengthen Social Studies in Ohio? 1. Continue to petition the General Assembly and State Board of Education to accept ODE's recommendation to move the new K-8 Social Studies Assessments from Grades 5 and 8 to Grades 4 and 6 and tell them how important it is to FUND THESE ASSESSMENTS. 2. Petition the General Assembly and State Board of Education to require a 1/2 credit of World Studies as part of the graduation requirements in the State of Ohio. This could be fulfilled by taking World History, World Geography, or Contemporary World Issues (all of which have ODE developed Model Curricula already in place). Social Studies Teachers and Organizations need to continue to work together to promote Social Studies Education in Ohio! Go to www.ocss.org and sign the Restore K-8 Social Studies Assessments and Save World History in Ohio online petitions. A nationally representative sample of 502 high school graduates ages 18-24 was conducted by Colligan Market Research between June 29 and July 6. It was commissioned by the nonprofit World Savvy with support from the International Baccalaureate organization. This survey shows that there is a definite need in Ohio and the United States for more World Studies in our schools. For more information and to find out how you can be apart of the effort to "Save and Strengthen Social Studies in Ohio," please go to www.ocss.org. Ohio's earliest documents show that our Founders believed that education is a cornerstone of democracy. However, in recent years, the subject that teaches students about History, Geography, Government, Citizenship, and Economics has become increasingly marginalized in Ohio's classrooms. The Ohio Council for the Social Studies wants to ensure that all of Ohio's students receive a quality and well-rounded education that will provide them with the tools they will need to become an active and engaged citizen.