The power and potential of education in our state rests on the shoulders of its teachers. As a council, our mission is to educate, inform, and advocate on behalf of Kentucky’s teachers and students. KCSS strongly urges the Board to pass the proposed standards as they will support teachers in their important work towards creating informed, engaged Kentucky citizens.
The purpose of social studies education, and indeed public schooling more generally, is to create an informed, engaged democratic citizenry. Often this purpose feels divorced from expectations placed on teachers.
No one knows Kentucky education and its young people like teachers. These standards are written by Kentucky teachers, for Kentucky teachers. Our teachers recognize the power of an effective social studies education in preparing students for active civic life in a pluralistic democracy.
What’s been said multiple times is that standards should be driven by teachers. This is the second set of Kentucky social studies standards written by teachers. Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards were both adopted by this Board, however neither have the voices of teachers, as much as these proposed standards do.
If we value teachers’ voices – and want to support them in their work for Kentucky’s students, then these standards should be adopted.
What excites us about these standards is their potential to empower teachers and students in achieving this ambitious goal. These standards center the literacies students need to make sense of their world, helping Kentucky’s students be active contributors to their communities, whether in college, their careers, or as civic participants.
A focus on skills, particularly inquiry-based learning, is not only more meaningful because it re-centers students in their learning, but it also has a large wealth of scholarship showing it to be an effective pedagogical strategy, reflected in research and assessment data.
The Kentucky Council for the Social Studies supports these standards and urges they be passed. As the official state social studies organization, we are also willing to collaborate with the Board towards implementing them in Kentucky schools.
The standards are grounded in the expertise of our state’s teachers and scholars in the field. They provide Kentucky educators a framework to promote the content, skills, and literacies of the social studies, nurturing rigorous and meaningful educational experiences for Kentucky’s children.