Monday, May 14, 2012

Save Our Social Studies, Save Our Democracy!

How on earth could people be "divided" over the importance of social studies? See this article in our "newspaper" Allentown Divided Over Eliminating Social Studies There should be no debate here. Allentown School Board and administration are actually considering eliminating 6th grade social studies, and blending it in with Language Arts, so they can increase Math time, to improve test scores. Math test scores tank in middle school because kids aren't retaining what they have learned due to teaching the test and failed data driven education policies. (See FairTest for the truth about NCLB- a failed experiment on our children) Hey geniuses, let the teachers teach to their strengths, address the real problem- POVERTY, then students will succeed. A further narrowing of the curriculum is not going to help! Social studies is essential. Here's why:

Tim Slekar, professor of Education at Penn State sums it up nicely with this comment:

"Any move to diminish Social Studies and History should be viewed as an attack on democracy. These are the only subjects that specifically ask students to engage in learning that prepares you for life in a democracy. It specifically asks students to question social, civic, and economic conditions. They are the study of and should promote active citizenship. Anyone or any group that calls for limits on Social Studies and History teaching is calling for an uneducated population without the ability to question power. For those in Allentown that are "divided."  WHat in the world are you divided about?  Allentown citizens! This is an attempt to create an obedient citizenry.  Don't roll over.  Your children will remember these days.  Hopefully they will remember this time in history as the time average citizens took a courageous stand against people of power."

Social Studies is a broad subject which includes history, anthropology, archaeology, political science, law, economics, geography, world cultures, current affairs, even psychology. If we want our children to grow up to be informed, humane, and caring citizens who are active participants in a democracy, then we should never deny them exposure to the study of the social sciences. This is outrageous, and parents must speak up!! Cut the useless and expensive testing that is harming our children, not the subjects that they need most. Wake up Allentown!


Jesse Turner said...

Well said Angie, what we are seeing in many ways is not merely an attack on the arts, play, inquiry, but an attack on our democracy.
Jesse Turner
Children Are More Than Test Scores

Mrs. Dottie said...

Thanks Jesse. I am hoping that parents speak up about this. The arts and the social sciences should be valued as separate subjects, to be studied comprehensively, not just for the purpose of boosting Math and Reading test scores. This is so wrong.

selkie55 said...

This is so ridiculous! Math is not the only subject that kids need!!! I am so tired of this push on math and science as if everyone in the country is going to be a rocket scientist when they grow up. If kids don't study other peoples and other societies, what will they really learn? How to work in a lab? Isn't the understanding of the diversity in the world what leads to tolerance, acceptance and peace? I so agree that social studies and history are crucial to a well-rounded education. And, in high school, I won an award for Excellence in Social Studies. Yes, when I was in high school, we still had classes related to the social sciences.

Mrs. Dottie said...

Selkie, I agree, this is so ridiculous. ASD must find somewhere else to cut. There should be no debate. Narrowing of curriculum is not good for ANY child. Social studies is essential. They hardly get any SS in elementary school. There's too much focus on Math.

Horace Mann said...

According to the test mongers, all we need is non-fiction reading and math skills. Everything else in unessential in preparing compliant, state workers.

Angie, your pieces have a unique voice that compliments the best of the bloggers out there. As one who has been reading 50 blogs like this a week, I believe yours really speaks to the people.

Keep Working!

Mrs. Dottie said...

Thanks HM! Wish more locals would read my blog, especially our school board directors. Here in the Lehigh Valley we have some noisy, misinformed political bloggers, (non-educators) who write about our district, and unfortunately that's where our school board directors, and even some former teachers choose to comment. I'm trying to inform people about what's really going on, and present the studies that support my position, tell the truth about what's behind education reform. SO many people don't have a clue.

Elizabeth Collins said...

Great post. You probably know about the proposed cutting of everything but math and reading in UDSD. Asinine. Gearing up for big meeting on May 23rd...that said, just got letter from Sen. Erickson saying that Corbett's massive cuts will only be half as massive as originally thought, so maybe there is hope? A school district couldn't be so stupid as to cut these subjects if they don't absolutely have to, now could they? They probably could.

Mrs. Dottie said...

Hi Elizabeth, I heard about Upper Darby, that's so sad. Allentown has reduced special classes to 9 times per year at elementary schools, so they did not completely eliminate specials, like UD plans on doing. It's still really bad, and I have seen how much the kids miss their specials. We plan on cutting Kindergarten, possibly SS, and I am sure they will find more areas to cut, while keeping Reading and Math and test prep. It's awful. Don't know how much longer I can keep my child in a system where all involved are held hostage to bad ideas, and I don't believe my child is actually learning anything meaningful. The arts and humanities should NEVER be cut.

Horace Mann said...


Are you mailing your pieces directly to them? That's what I've started doing. That and the local free presses.

Most people supporting education are too modest. Big reason why teachers are in this mess is their modesty. No one wants to support a failing system. As long as Ed Reforms voices are louder about failing schools than teachers voices are about their successes, we will continue to see this trend.

Let your light shine!

Mrs. Dottie said...

HM, the misinformed idiots who bash teachers are much louder than anyone else around here. I am really tired of debating non-educators who think they are experts. I'll have to let my light shine here, and on Facebook and Twitter, and hope that the word gets out. Local paper, and free presses won't acknowledge or publish anything written by me or my husband because we call them out, expose their lies, at our Lehigh Valley Somebody political blog. We have been blocked and muzzled just about everywhere in the local media. This is the price we pay for speaking truth to power. Media protects the monied,connected, and powerful people. Someone else will have to write letters to the editor. I have written directly to school board directors, and the superintendent, and I am Facebook friends with 3 school board directors, who mostly ignore me.