Am I a geek or a nerd?

What Social Studies Teachers Think and Do
October 1, 2010, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hey, somebody studied us!! Well, they studied some of us, specifically high school teachers, but it’s us, it’s us!! You can download the full AEI report here, but long story short most HS Social Studies teachers want students to respect the United States and understand our strengths AND our shortcomings. When given a list of classroom priorities, most of us listed ‘teaching facts’ (like where are the 50 states or the exact date of Pearl Harbor) as the lowest and put tremendous importance on students learning the meanings and interpretations of the Bill of Rights.

So far so good, huh?

Hang on though, seems very few of us think our students have actually learned anything when they leave high school and only 60% of think learning about federalism and the like is important.  Only 50% thought economic concepts like supply and demand were important (given the economic woes of late, this seems shortsighted) And rather than blaming ourselves we blame NCLB for the shortcomings in social studies.


Some are going to be surprised by this study (like my edu blogging crush Mr. Hess) and claim NCLB doesn’t impact high school as much as elementary school, or that teachers saying facts aren’t important is bothersome. I too take some issue, particularly with teachers saying that something is crucial and then in the next breath saying they are sure their students didn’t get it. You can’t blame NCLB for that (despite the fact that we know Elementary and MS  SS education gets shortchanged leading to  HS students who don’t have the background they ought to). And you can’t upset when people rank things you asked them to rank–something has to end up on the bottom and I’m glad the big idea are at the top. That econ thing has me concerned though….


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