Recently, the National Council for the Social Studies released its National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers guidance document for public review. If you are a parent, pre-service social studies teacher or teacher educator, current or former teacher, or, honestly, simply an engaged citizen with a concern for the future, I encourage you to check it out and provide them with feedback. The document, which runs about 23 pages, provides an overview of five core competencies that are important in social studies teacher education.
Each section of the report dives deeper into each of the core competencies. No doubt, there will be some comments raised about the inclusion of ‘social justice’, knowing that that particular term was once removed from standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (now the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation), for good or ill. I do appreciate the emphasis on inquiry, skills, and knowledge as having an equal role in teacher preparation, though the references to C3 could be an issue in states where that program is (unfortunately) not adopted.
As a civic educator, I cannot help but notice that there is a HUGE amount of attention paid to varying elements of civic education and competency. Obviously, if we consider that social studies is at the heart of instruction in good citizenship, this is important, but it’s ultimately necessary that these standards make clear that civics must necessarily connect to other content areas in our field, and I think they do that adequately.