Am I a geek or a nerd?

Which would you rather teach? (or have your kids learn?)
March 25, 2010, 12:48 pm
Filed under: Geek | Tags: ,

Ah, Texas. We hear lots about you. The New York Times, Newsweek, and all the education mags/blogs/newsfeeds report on your standards in social studies. You argue about people and places; which should be there and which should not. You argue with experts about Constitutional law. You generally make a fool of yourself. Why can’t you be more like Colorado. See her over there, being reasonable? See how she asks for expert guidance with content and then actually listens to those experts? Texas, you are the good time girl, aren’t you, the one who will be a little crazy, breakin’ hearts left and right. Meanwhile, Colorado, she doesn’t get a lot of attention, but she’s the real catch, the keeper. In ten or twenty years, Colorado is still going to look great while Texas will be out of shape and not nearly as exciting as she is now.

Just compare some of the language in the two states’ social studies standards documents:

Texas: The student understands the impact of political, economic, and social factors in the US role in the world from the 1970s though 1990. The student is expected to: ….(E) Describe the causes, key organizations, and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association….

Or check out the debates

Colorado: Concepts and skills students master:…2. The key concepts of continuity and change, cause and effect, complexity, unity and diversity over time… (g) Analyze the complexity of events in United States history. Topics to include but not limited to the suffrage movement and the Civil Rights Movement…

Inquiry Questions:

• What impact have individuals had on history?

• How has culture defined civilization?

• How does society decide what is important in history?

• What ideas have united people over time?

• How has diversity impacted the concepts of change over time?

Lets see, would I rather my kids describe the people and organizations on a discrete and finite list OR would I rather they analyze the complex nature of a variety of events in US history, looking at the role of the individual (who ever that might be) and how we decide what is important. Based on this standards, I think the kids in Colorado might be studying the Texas Board of Education as part of this!

While I’d like to think a document like Colorado’s standards could be a model for Common Core for Social Studies, I suspect the debate, press, and public views will better reflect what we see in Texas.

To think we fought over Texas…


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