The call for a special session, whether to rehash Common Core or discuss genuine K-12 funding policies, will likely fail. If you want to talk K-12 funding, you’ll have to wait for the next Blue Ribbon K-12 meeting in Pierre August 19.
If you need to scratch your Common Core itch, I was going to direct you toward the state Board of Education meeting next week… but South Dakotans Against Common Core inform us that the board failed to give proper public notice of one important part of their hearing and thus had to reschedule. The board will still meet by phone next Monday to discuss some frittery rule changes.
But the yummy stuff comes next month, August 24, when the board will meet in Rapid City to discuss new social studies standards, which should set K-12 distractionalists’ antennae all a-twitch.
The proposed draft standards come to us from a 35-person committee that included at least 28 active social studies teachers. Everyone on the committee appears to be a South Dakotan, so no sign of nefarious federal mandates yet (not that Common Core ever was a federal mandate, but I’m just trying to think like the folks who shout about Common Core for the wrong reasons).
Alas, the standards committee relied heavily on material from the C3 Framework, a simple idea that says social studies ought to prepare kids for college, career, and citizenship. And who wrote the C3 Framework? The same folks who wrote Common Core:
An author of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is behind the C3 Framework as well — the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). According to the documents, the C3 Framework was developed in response in state requests for further clarity on what college and career preparation (a key principle in the development of the Common Core) would look like in social studies classes in particular. As you likely know, the Common Core itself only outlines the literacy skills that social studies students are expected to learn; it does not outline discipline-specific, non-literacy skills [Dve Stuart, Jr., “What’s the C3 Framework, and How Does It Affect Your Social Studies Class?” Teaching the Core, 2012.11.28].
Just like Common Core, the C3 Framework was a collaborative, state-led effort. Just like Common Core, the C3 Framework codifies pretty straightforward concepts that good teachers already know into fancy graphics that impress administrators and bureaucrats. Just like Common Core, the C3 Framework will like be replaced and forgotten by the next wave of education reform in ten or twenty years.
But if I were a Common Core hawk, I’d be going nuts. The same folks who brought Common Core to math and English are now trying to write the agenda for the social studies classroom. Aaaaaahh! Sound the alarm!
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Social studies includes economics, so if Common Core is a socialist plot, that’s where one might expect to find the most Soviet propaganda. Let’s look for socialism in the economics skills the social studies committee expects our kids to execute:
- Kindergarten: Describe the difference between wants and needs.
- First Grade:
- Distinguish between goods and services and how families use them.
- Describe ways in which people earn money.
- Second: Identify goods and services available in the students’ communities.
- Explain ways producers use resources to produce goods and services.
- Use examples to show that people in modern society may not be able to produce everything they want and depend upon trade with others to meet their wants.
- Discuss what factors (both positive and negative) influence individual choices.
- Describe the necessity for government to collect taxes from its citizens in order to provide services to its citizens (Will this include a guest speaker from the Libertarian Party to tell us taxation is theft?)
- Describe how the economic needs of South Dakotans and people in other regions of the US have been met
￼￼(which will have to include discussion of our reliance on socialist wealth redistribution).
- Explain how supply and demand influences sellers in markets (ah, capitalism!).
- Explain the role of money as a means of trade between individuals and/or groups.
- Explain the meaning of inflation, deflation, and unemployment.
- Describe examples of various institutions that make up economic systems.
- Explain societies’ attempts throughout history to satisfy their basic needs and wants.
- Identify basic economic systems present throughout ancient civilizations and how those systems contributed to the success or failure of the respective civilization.
- Identify the effects of economic systems on society.
- Describe the relationship between government and economic systems in different countries.
- Describe how economic activity affects standard of living.
- Describe how technology affects the economic development of places and regions.
- Describe the role of trade barriers and agreements in the global economy (the thin edge of the wedge for discussing globalism?).
- Explain how the availability of resources provides for or challenges human activities
- Describe the impact of technology and industrialization on mid-1800s America.
- Describe the economic effects of Reconstruction in the United States.
- Identify economic support for America during conflicts.
- Describe how economic gain was the motivation for westward expansion (wait: the motivation? what about population growth, political machinations, Christianity, and the desire for adventure?)
- High School (The standards lump grades 9 through 12 all together, since high schools offer different courses at different times):
- Through the construction of compelling questions, explain how the fundamental economic problem of unlimited wants with limited resources reflects enduring issues at all levels.
- Analyze the factors that may lead to different responses to the basic economic questions.
- Differentiate among the factors of production of land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship.
- Analyze the relationship between households and businesses in a market economy using the circular flow chart.
- Define and assess advantages and disadvantages of sole-proprietorship, partnership, and corporations in a market economy.
- Explain how scarcity, choice, and opportunity costs impact economic decision making at all levels by using a production possibilities curve.
- Apply marginal analysis in the economic decision making process.
- Compare and contrast the characteristics of perfectly competitive and less competitive market structures.
- Explain the law of supply and analyze the factors that create a change in supply.
- Explain the law of demand and analyze the factors that create a change in demand.
- Connect the role of supply and demand in creating price and quantity equilibriums in a perfectly competitive marketx
- Analyze how price and quantity equilibriums can be impacted through changes in supply, demand, and elasticity.
- Explain the concerns with surplus and shortage in the marketplace and what factors can potentially create disequilibrium in a market.
- Identify and critique the socio-economic goals of various countries including the US.
- Analyze and explain the relationship between households, businesses, and government agencies in the economy of the US by using the circular flow chart.
- Interpret economic indicators used by economists that may lead to differing conclusions regarding the current phase of the business cycle.
- Predict the degree of economic impact of different types of unemployment and different variables creating inflation by using appropriate data.
- Describe the ways in which each level of government in the US generates revenue and critique the method of using that revenue for public services.
- Analyze the potential positive and/or negative impact of changes in government policy.
- Compare and contrast economic stabilization approaches to the US economy.
- Explain the structure of US banking system.
- Assess and critique the tools used by the Federal Reserve System to influence the money supply.
- Compare the general characteristics of communism, socialism, and capitalism.
- Give a detailed explanation of the characteristics of capitalism citing examples from the US.
- Weigh the impact of factors such as the availability of economic resources, level of technology, and degree of economic freedom on a nation’s economic growth.
- Explain, citing evidence, why the US is an example of a mixed economy.
- Differentiate between a developing and newly developed nations.
- Analyze differing arguments regarding the impact of transitional economies on the global economy and specificallyon the US economy.
- Apply the concept of comparative advantage to explain why goods and services are produced in one nation versus another.
- Construct an argument for free-traders and construct a counter-argument for protectionists.
- Identify and critique various barriers to international trade.
- Identify and provide the historical foundations for various international trade agreements and any impact on the US economy.
- Explain the impact of exchange rates on the value of goods and services.
- Analyze how the global economy has changed the interaction of buyers and sellers in the US economy.
Boy, once the kids hit high school, there’s a lot of comparing and contrasting and critiquing from different viewpoints, but I don’t see any clear bias toward socialism. If anything, high school skill #24 suggests we’ll spend extra time in class talking about American capitalism.
All those skills are just under economics; the standards list equivalently challenging tasks for civics/government, geography, and history. And on top of that, we still have to make time for kids to learn how to conjugate French verbs and practice for the winter choral concert.
But review the skills the social studies standards propose for our kids and tell me: do you see any task that is not appropriate for our public classrooms? Do you see any bit of economics, civics, geography, or history knowledge that shouldn’t be on that list, or that has been omitted?
Those are the real questions folks should ask before they consider taking pitchforks to the Board of Education meeting in August.