Promise and Peril: The Implications of the Common Core for History Education
This roundtable will address the implications of the Common Core Literacy Standards for history curricular development, teacher preparation, and instruction in the secondary schools and the university. Discussion will focus upon both the opportunities and challenges presented by the Common Core State Standards initiative for history education. While deeper reading and persuasive and argumentative writing are the stock and trade of the discipline of history, what are the implications of raising the visibility of the procedural knowledge of history relative to knowledge of its content? What in fact are history teachers to teach?
In 2011, the Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction (SSACI) collaborative of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) commissioned the drafting of document to provide guidance for states to use in enhancing their standards for rigor in civics, economics, geography, and history in K-12 schools. The chair and two panelists of this AHA roundtable authored the history framework within the document, which has now been termed The Vision for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards. The C3 Framework will include descriptions of the structure and tools of the four disciplines, as well as the habits of mind common in those disciplines. The C3 Framework intersects with the Common Core Social Studies standards and will be a significant resource for all states to consider in their local processes for upgrading state social studies standards.
In addition to curricular development, other panelists will engage the audience with a discussion of the implications of the Common Core Literacy Standards for the pre- and in-service preparation of history teachers, and the means by which a focus upon disciplinary and historical thinking (i.e. procedural knowledge) is best aligned with the literacy imperatives of Common Core. The opportunities to engage students through a focus upon historical thinking –and through this lens facilitating literacy— will be presented, as will the challenge of both preparing and convincing in-service history teachers of the legitimacy and practicality of this approach.
The Common Core Standards have generated much public interest and discussion, and there is much concern about their implications for the teaching of history in the schools. In 2014, Common Core assessments will begin to be rolled out on a significant scale for the first time. An AHA roundtable such as this is timely and should be of interest to a wide audience of historians, history educators, teachers and indeed AHA members who are parents of children in public schools.