College & Workforce Readiness

Is Social Studies Dead?

By Caroline Cournoyer — January 28, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In a somewhat satirical post, ASCD blogger Steven Weber proposes the idea that school reforms have killed social studies.

“At some point between the standards movement and high stakes testing, some school districts decided that social studies was an add-on, rather than essential to developing a well-rounded citizen prepared for life and work in the 21st century,” writes Weber. " ... [W]hat gets measured gets done and some principals even joke that ‘social studies better not be taught in my school until all students are proficient.’”

Since the implementation of NCLB, the amount of time spent teaching social studies has steadily declined—most notably in elementary schools—according to a 2007 statement from the National Council for Social Studies, quoted in the blog.

The NCSS said it is “increasingly alarmed by the erosion of the importance of social studies in the United States. This erosion, in large part, is a consequence of the implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).”

Weber worries that the decreasing role of social studies in school will cause students to place less value on the subject and its important concepts, such as democracy, rights, voting, leadership, and government.

Weber asks: “Is social studies something that is nice to know or is it a priority in K-12 schools in your school district?”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.