It didn’t take the Kentucky Board of Education very long to more or less rubber stamp a very deficient change to the state’s social studies standards, approving a “Statement of Consideration” that mostly ignored public comments from 27 different individuals and left things virtually unchanged from the deficient version the board reviewed in February.
The board’s meeting was recorded, and you can click on the video below to hear the start of the board’s discussion about the standards through the final vote on the Statement of Consideration about 10 minutes later.
Notice in the video that the presenter said that there was “Really nothing out of the ordinary in terms of the comments received.” She continued, “Nothing was really about the standards.”
You can see the comments I submitted by clicking here.
While I certainly raised some technical issues (Yes, the name for the Appalachian Mountains is supposed to have both words capitalized), I included plenty of direct comments about deficiencies in the standards, too.
I pointed out that those deficiencies start at a really basic level. The revised Kentucky Academic Standards for Social Studies that the board just approved say on Page 11 that there are just “four disciplinary strands in social studies (civics, geography, economics and history).”
That’s really interesting because right now the Kentucky Department of Education’s own web site says:
“The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) states that social studies “is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.” For students to become fully empowered participants in democracy, students must draw upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, sociology as well as content from the humanities to develop broad conceptual understandings in social studies.”
With civics included, I make that 13 different disciplines to be covered, not just four. See the table below:
Who decided Kentucky’s kids would be limited to just four discipline areas out of more than a dozen that social studies should cover?
“Within the school program, social studies provides (sic) coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences.”
If you are keeping count, that is 14 different areas, plus civics (separately mentioned by the national council on the same web page) for a total of 15 that should be covered.
By the way, the revised Kentucky social studies standards actually mention of The National Council for the Social Studies as a resource.
So, why did the people rewriting Kentucky’s social studies standards ignore what that national organization recommends?
To reiterate, who decided Kentucky’s kids would be limited to just four discipline areas out of more than a dozen that social studies should cover?
Getting back to the board meeting, I’d like to know how anyone thought my comments included “Nothing…really about the standards.”
In any event, the standards package, actually the enabling regulation, 704 KAR 8:060, now goes before the Kentucky Legislature’s Interim Joint Education Committee and the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee, probably in May or June.
Hopefully, our legislators will realize that social studies standards must be declared deficient when they don’t even mention people like Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ben Franklin and a host of other things like at least nine basic, recognized areas of social studies that didn’t get listed among only four “strands” the Kentucky writers thought were worth mentioning.
And, unless you want the rest of the country really laughing at us, you need to let your legislators know that this deficient social studies revision just won’t fly.