Peter Feinman: Social Studies Curriculum Resolutions

At the annual statewide conference of social studies teachers, the NYSCSS board passed the following resolutions which have now been disseminated to the members through the NYSCSS website and publication. They express the concern by the NYSCSS over the diminished role of social studies in k-12 education and of the prospect of English teachers, more formally, ELA teachers, using historic documents to teach reading without being trained in the historical context which produced those primary source documents. It would be like teaching Shakespeare without being aware of the Elizabethan context during which he wrote. Read more

Citizenship: NYS Social Studies Conference Update

The New York State Council for the Social Studies annual conference which I attended was held March 22-24 in Saratoga Springs. Several of the sessions were related to the new common core curriculum in social studies. The primary presenter was Larry Paska of the New York State Education. Also speaking was Regent James Dawson. In addition to the formal presentations both answered questions, Paska in a scheduled second session and Regent Dawson in an impromptu setting for close to an hour after his talk. In both sessions, teachers raised the issue of citizenship not being a goal for the proposed new curriculum. They are to prepare students for college and work but not to be adult human beings in a democratic society. Read more

Peter Feinman: Social Studies Conference Commentary

The New York State Council for the Social Studies annual conference was held March 22-24 in Saratoga Springs. Several of the sessions were related to the new common core curriculum in social studies.

The primary presenter was Larry Paska of the New York State Education whom Bruce Dearstyne identified in a post last week as the point person in the state for the project. Also speaking was Regent James Dawson. Read more

Social Studies Curriculum Revisions

During the recent spate of posts on this site regarding the New York State Social Studies curriculum revision, some commentators asked whom to contact. The person is charge of this initiative is Dr. Lawrence Paska, Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction, NYS Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Room 318 EB Albany, NY 12234. 518-474-5922. [email protected],gov Read more

Social Studies Curriculum:Will Standardization Hurt Local History?

The movement to evaluate teacher performance took a new turn recently. According to a press release from Governor Cuomo dated February 16, 2012: &#8220Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State Education Commissioner John King, and New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi today announced a groundbreaking agreement on a new statewide evaluation system that will make New York State a national leader in holding teachers accountable for student achievement.&#8221 Read more

Social Studies Curriculum: Time to Speak Up

If you are interested in strengthening the teaching of New York State and local history in New York’s schools, now is the time to speak up.

A recent post by Peter Feinman informed us that the State Education Department is now working on revision of the state social studies standards. The current standards, last revised several years ago, are in need of revision and updating. Read more

Peter Feinman: Whither the Social Studies Councils?

In previous posts, I have written about various components of the New York State History Community including the county historians, the county historical societies, and the municipal historians. I would like to take this opportunity to address another and highly relevant area, the teachers, beginning with the councils for social studies. Read more

New Social Studies Curriculum: The Time to Act is Now

Bruce Dearstyne’s recent post, Historical Societies: Getting Past Hard Times, raises a number of disturbing issues. The story of the tribulations of the Saratoga County Historical Society is one of concern. The Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education (IHARE) has had several Teacherhostels / Historyhostels in Saratoga County mostly relating to the Battle of Saratoga and also in Waterford. Last summer as part of a Teaching American History grant, a group of teachers from Vermont stayed in Clifton Park while learning about the battle. I have had email exchanges with Brookside’s Executive Director Joy Houle about the possibility of having a Saratoga County History Conference there as was done in the Hudson Valley. Read more

Peter Feinman: Why is the Press Indifferent to History?How Do We Communicate History?

At the recently concluded annual conference of the American Historical Association, in addition to the passionate discussions about &#8220NO HISTORY JOBS! NO HISTORY JOBS! NO HISTORY JOBS!&#8221 featured in my previous post, there were four panels on &#8220Historians, Journalists, and the Challenges of Getting It Right.&#8221 Excerpts from a report by Rick Shenkman, publisher and editor-in-chief of the History News Network on these presentations follow [his full report is online]. Read more

Bruce Dearstyne: Strengthening the Historical Enterprise

Several recent posts on this site have demonstrated the robustness and diversity of New York’s historical programs but also pointed to the limitations, challenges, and potential for much greater achievement. The special issue of the Public Historian on &#8220Strengthening the Management of State History: Issues, Perspectives, and Insights from New York&#8221 last August analyzed these same issues.

That discussion needs to continue. In fact, we are overdue for an examination of the state’s historical enterprise and discussion of ways of boosting its effectiveness and impact.
New York is one of the nation’s oldest states, with a history stretching back more than 400 years. Read more