Thursday, February 20, 2014

Revised Social Studies Standards: New York Edition

The focus of our last entry was on the newly revised and suggested Social Studies Framework for States to use and adapt into their own Standards.

We thought we would highlight one such State who has taken these newly revised suggestions and gone above and beyond.  

New York.

The State of New York has been proud to be the leader in promoting and implementing all things Common Core.  After all, the State received $700M of the $4.3B available from the Obama 2009 bribe  stimulus money.  New York also decided to subject students to the new Common Core exam at the end of last year, even though the Standards had not been fully implemented.  All so that proponents can claim our children are woefully unprepared.  And when parents complained, they were told by the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, that they were just a bunch of "white, suburban moms" who were having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that their kids aren't as smart as we thought they were.


We read all 93 pages of the New York Social Studies Standards.  Our findings are as follows:  

There are repetitive themes of oppression, human rights, and human impact on the environment throughout the Social Studies Standards.  From Kindergarten, students are taught to recognize differences in others such as race, gender, and ethnicity.  They are taught that they have "basic universal rights or protections as members of a family, school, community, nation, and the world."  They are taught that these rights include "provision of food, clothing, shelter, and education, and protection from abuse, bullying, neglect, exploitation, and discrimination."  Kindergartners are also introduced to the impact of human activity and to identify situations in which social actions are required.  

In the early grades, students are conditioned to respect authority and rules because they "provide for the health and safety of all."  Throughout the early years, students "follow agreed upon rules for discussions" or consensus and collaborative discussions.  Students are to "build on others' talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others."  The collective over-rides the individual.

First graders are taught that we should be responsible citizens of the world. An enormous amount of time is spent on values clarification.  This is achieved through programs such as "Character Education."  First graders learn the word "scarcity" which will continue throughout the grades.  They are also introduced to "needs and wants" and how we have to make choices due to "unlimited needs and wants and scarce resources."  This ties in with the themes of human impact on the environment.

Beginning in Second grade, students are encouraged to continue to point out all of the "differences" between others.  Students are introduced to "population density."  Students are taught some of the symbols of our country but exclude the most important such as our National Anthem, the bald eagle, our nation's seal, the Declaration of Independence or our Constitution.  The Standards continually refer to our form of government as a "Democracy" (democratic principles, Constitutional Democracy, democratic society).  It isn't until Eighth grade that the word "Republic" is used...once.

Second graders are taught that we have an obligation to make and enforce only "fair" laws and rules that provide for the "common good."  Students are also taught that they have an obligation to serve in their community and this continues throughout all grades.  A lot of time is spent on community service opportunities including working with non profits.  Second graders are also introduced to the concept of "taxes" and that they are "collected to provide communities with goods and services."  They are then taught the importance of the workers in the community and why our taxes are important to fund these jobs (teachers, firefighters, sanitation workers, and police) who all happen to be members of large unions.

Third graders spend a lot of time on human impacts on the environment, human rights activism, and social change.  They study other countries around the world and their holidays and festivals as well as how they "meet its basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter, and compare that to their own community."  They are introduced to the words "prejudice" and "discrimination" and how they serve as "barriers to justice and equality for all people."  More discussion is made about "surplus and scarcity" in relation to resources for each world community.

Fourth graders learn about their own State history.  For our example, this year is spent studying New York.  Since New York played a major role in the founding of the country, one might think that this would be emphasized. However, while they do examine issues of political and economic rights that led to the American Revolution, omitted from the discussion are any of the Founding Fathers (particularly Hamilton who was from New York), nor is there any mention of the Declaration of Independence.  Most of the year is spent on the Women's Suffrage movement and the Seneca Conference in upstate New York.  This topic is discussed in every year through Eighth grade.  Fourth graders continue to learn about being "responsible citizens" and obeying rules which include traffic safety, "see something-say something" and anti-bullying but nothing on the laws of the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

Fifth graders are encouraged to participate in activism opportunities which focus on a classroom, school, community, state, or national issues.  They are to identify the role of the individual only in terms of opportunities for social and political participation and situations in which social actions are required. They are taught to work to influence those in positions of power to strive for freedom, social justice, and human rights.  This can be done by working with multinational organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs, UN, etc).  Students this year "examine" the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and Bill of Rights but only alongside the British North America Act, and the Canadian Bill of Rights and compare/contrast key values, beliefs and principles.

Seventh and Eighth graders study the history of the United States and more of the State of New York.  There is no mention of any of the Founders or that Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention.  There is no discussion about Federalists or Anti-Federalists.  Students are required to identify the individual rights of citizens that are protected by the Bill of Rights.  No other Constitutional Amendments, outside of the 19th and women's suffrage, are discussed.  Students only have to locate major battles of the Civil War but not read the Gettysburg Address.

In Eighth grade, students learn more about "population density" as well as "nativism" and anti-immigration policies.  They learn about union labor including the International Workers of the World. Students are taught that during the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl was caused by man-made environmental conditions.  Students are introduced to the United Nations.  They are also taught that "an aging population is affecting the economy and straining public resources" as they discuss the Baby Boom generation and how they are causing an increase in demand for social security and health care.  (throwing granny off the cliff)

Eighth graders also learn about the impact of pollution and population growth.  They learn more about the civil rights movement and activists such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.  This movement then prompted renewed efforts by the farm workers, Native Americans, the disabled, and the LGBT community.  Students learn the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.  They examine state and federal regulations in response to increased gun violence, cyber-bullying, and electronic surveillance as well as in the areas of health care and education.  Students are also taught that "terrorist groups not representing any Nation" were the ones responsible for reshaping political alliances and conflicts sparking 9/11.

Names, words, or phrases that are not found anywhere in the new New York Social Studies Standards:

Magna Carta
the Mayflower
George Washington
James Madison
Samuel Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin
John Adams
Paul Revere
Daniel Webster
Boston Tea Party
Valley Forge
Washington crossing of the Delaware
Battle of Bunker Hill
The Great Compromise
Francis Scott Key
Jay Treaty
Abraham Lincoln
Gettysburg Address/Battle of Gettysburg
Fort Sumter
the Wright Brothers
Alexander Graham Bell
John Browning
Samuel Morse
Eli Whitney
Jonas Salk
Henry Ford
Amelia Earhart
Charles Lindburgh
Robert E. Lee
Ulysses S. Grant
Dwight Eisenhower
George Patton
Any other Constitutional Amendment other than the 16th and 19th

American exceptionalism is so....history.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Revised Social Studies Framework

The new National Council for the Social Studies (Common Core) Standards have been released with their recommendations to States.

The full title:  The College, Career and Civic Life (c3) for Social Studies State Standards: Guidance for Enhancing the Rigor of K-12 Civics, Economics, Geography, and History

The recommendations are broken down by "Dimensions."

Dimension 1 stresses the importance of anchoring these standards with the current Common Core ELA Standards.  The new Social Studies Standards require that students learn how to ask compelling questions, determine what are "reliable" sources, and cite textual evidence.

Dimension 2 is broken down into four categories.  Civics, Economics, Geography, and History.

Some Standards include:


Kindergarten - 2nd Grade
D2.Civ.1.K-2. Describe roles and responsibilities of people in authority.
D2.Civ.3.K-2. Explain the need for and purposes of rules in various settings inside and outside of school  (never question authority, those in power know what is best for you)
D2.Civ.8.K-2. Describe democratic principles such as equality, fairness, and respect for legitimate authority and rules.
D2.Civ.9. K-2  Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions while responding attentively to others when addressing ideas and making decisions as a group (instilling the idea of collectivism and that we are a democracy)

Grade 9-12

D2.Civ.1.9-12  Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
D2.Civ.3.9-12  Analyze the impact of constitutions, laws, treaties, and international agreements on the maintenance of national and international order.
D2.Civ.7.9-12. Apply civic virtues and democratic principles when working with others.
(more indoctrination that we are a democracy)


Kindergarten- 2nd Grade
D2.Eco.1.K-2. Explain how scarcity necessitates decision making. 
D2.Eco.2.K-2. Identify the benefits and costs of making various personal decisions.

5th Grade

D2.Eco.3.3-5. Identify examples of the variety of resources (human capital, physical capital, and natural resources) that are used to produce goods and services.
D2.Eco.6.3-5. Explain the relationship between investment in human capital, productivity, and future incomes.
D2.Eco.12 3-5. Explain the ways in which the government pays for the goods and services it provides.
D2.Eco.13. 3-5.  Describe ways people can increase productivity by using improved capital goods and improving their human capital.

8th Grade
D2.Eco.1.6-8. Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
D2.Eco.9.6-8. Describe the roles of institutions such as corporations, non-profits, and labor unions in a market economy

12th Grade

D2.Eco.1.9-12. Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
D2.Eco.5.9-12. Describe the consequences of competition in specific markets.
D2.Eco.6.9-12. Generate possible explanations for a government role in markets when market inefficiencies exist.
D2.Eco.15.9-12. Explain how current globalization trends and policies affect economic growth, labor markets, rights of citizens, the environment, and resource and income distribution in different nations.


Kindergarten- 2nd Grade
D2.Geo.5.K-2. Describe how human activities affect the cultural and environmental characteristics of places or regions.

12th Grade
D2.Geo.6.9-12.  Evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions.
D2.Geo.12.9-12. Evaluate the consequences of human-made and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration.

HISTORY:  (less emphasis on the actual historical events and people and more emphasis on what the collective THINKS happened)

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade
D2.His.6.K-2. Compare different accounts of the same historical event.
D2.His.12.K-2  Generate questions about a particular historical source as it relates to a particular historical event or development.
D2.His16.K-2  Select which reasons might be more likely than others to explain a historical event or development.

12th Grade

D2.His.8.9-12.  Analyze how current interpretations of the past are limited by the extent to which available historical sources represent perspectives of people at the time.
D2.His.13.9-12  Critique the appropriateness of the historical sources used in a secondary interpretation.
D2.His.17.9-12  Critique the central arguments in secondary works of history on related topics in multiple media in terms of their historical accuracy.

Dimension 3:  Evaluation Sources and Using Evidence

This dimension emphasizes using sources to analyze information and come to a conclusion to a claim.

Now, imagine schools have iPads or laptops for each student to use in order to research and analyze information.  Imagine that these devices come pre-loaded with search engines.  Then, imagine that there was something called the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative.  We warned about this initiative before that involved the Department of Education and George Soros.  With search engines that only direct students to certain articles and omit opposing viewpoints or information (think China), it might make it really hard for a student to write a paper on an opposing view because they would not be able to find sources to support their argument.

Dimension 4:  Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action

This Dimension is the most disturbing.  It is all about training children to become activists.

It states, "...state social studies standards should consider including expectations for students to collaborate with others as they communicate and critique their conclusions in public venues.  These venues may range from the school classroom to the larger public community.  Collaborative efforts may range from teaming up to work on a group presentation with classmates to actual work on a local issue that could involve addressing real-world problems."

Students are encouraged to critique the work of others and determine the credibility of the sources used.

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade
D4.6.K-2. Identify and explain a range of local, regional, and global problems and some ways in which people are trying to address these problems.
D4.7.K-2. Identify ways to take action to help address local, regional, and global problems.
D4.8.K-2.  Use listening, consensus-building, and voting procedures to decide on and take action in their classrooms.

12th Grade

D4.7.6-8.  Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
D4.8.6-8. Apply a range of deliberative and democratic procedures to make decisions and take action in their classrooms and schools and in out-of-school civic context.

Any reference to specific historical events or figures or reference to our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights or any amendments have been completely omitted from the Social Studies Standards.

Next, we'll show you how states have taken these new standards and adapted them into their own State Standards.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

President's Day. Less About Washington. More About Obama.

Washington was born on February 11, 1731.  Americans celebrated Washington's Birthday long before congress declared it a federal holiday.

According to the National Archives, "The centennial of his birth prompted festivities nationally and Congress established a Joint Committee to arrange for the occasion.  At the recommendation of the committee, chaired by Henry Clay of the Senate and Philemon Thomas of the House, Congress adjourned on February 22, 1832 out of respect for Washington's memory and in commemoration of his birth.

Prompted by a memorial from the mayor and other citizens of Philadelphia, the House and Senate commemorated the 130th Anniversary of Washington's birth by reading aloud his Farewell Address.  In a special joint session held in the House Chamber, the House and Senate, along with several cabinet officials, Justices of the Supreme Court and high-ranking officers of the Army and Navy, gathered to listen to the Secretary of State read the address aloud.  Eventually, the reading of George Washington's Farewell Address became an annual event for the Senate, a tradition that is still observed to this day.

Contrary to popular belief, neither Congress nor the President has ever stipulated that the name of the holiday observed as Washington's Birthday be changed to 'President's Day.'  "

We would like to show you samples of material that schools use as Common Core aligned "informational text" by ReadWorks to celebrate President's Day:  

(suggested answer:  Barack Obama was the first African American to be elected president.)

Another Common Core aligned kindergarten lesson plan celebrating President's Day inserts information about President Obama between George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  The lesson goes a step further to teach that our country is a "democracy" rather than a representative "republic."

Of course, Obama has been inserted into the holiday since his first President's Day in office.  From February 2009:

"President Barack Obama's picture was removed this week from a Presidents Day sign at the Peterson Air Force Base commissary after customers complained that the image did not fit the holiday commemorating the birthdays of past presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

They said four customers had complained that Presidents Day is to honor Washington and Lincoln, not Obama, causing the agency to remove the Obama image.

'The customers stated it is inaccurate to associate other presidents with this holiday and asked that we remove President Obama’s photo from the flier,' the agency said in a statement."

Just wait until we publish our findings of the newly revised Social Studies Framework....