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Framework for Social Studies Standards To Be Released

A draft framework for common social studies standards is set to be released on Nov. 17.

As we reported to you more than a year ago, social studies specialists have been working with state department of education officials and others to create standards in that subject. The document they've produced—which they're referring to alternately as a "draft framework" and "draft standards"—is scheduled to be released for public review at the National Council for the Social Studies' annual meeting in Seattle. It's being promoted as a "can't miss" event.

According to an NCSS press release, leaders of the effort will introduce the document and discuss the development of instructional and assessment materials. Kathy Swan of the University of Kentucky and Susan Griffin, the NCSS' executive director, who have been co-leading the project, will introduce members of the writing team and describe how they worked with professional organizations, teachers, and the social-studies collaborative of the Council of Chief State School Officers. They'll detail the process for receiving public comment.

Other channels of input are taking shape as well. Some states are soliciting feedback on the framework, as you can see in this announcement from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Some are scheduling their own reviews and discussions through meetings of state social studies councils, like Maine is doing.

Still more reviews are going on here in Washington. One invitational session, to be hosted next week by the American Enterprise Institute, was cancelled because the framework was deemed not ready for review, according to the CCSSO, which has served as a forum for state discussions on the standards. Another review is scheduled at the CCSSO next week.

So what is this document? Early signs suggest that you shouldn't expect something that prescribes the specific issues, trends, or events that students should study, but rather describes the structure, tools, and habits of mind they need in order to undertake an exploration of the discipline, and offers states a frame for the content they choose.

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