Chapter 1 - Section 5

Social Studies and the Elementary School Curriculum

     Although social studies has many benefits for elementary school students, the teaching of social studies in elementary school classrooms has been marginalized, according to the National Council for Social Studies. In many elementary classrooms, teachers spend less time teaching social studies and more time teaching what is needed for students to do well on required tests, especially in reading and math.

     A recent report, Learning Less: Public School Teachers Describe a Narrowing Curriculum, reported the results of surveying third through twelfth grade teachers. In the survey, 81 per cent of the teachers said they felt extra attention was being paid to math and language arts. 59 per cent of the teachers surveyed indicated that less time and resources were being given to social studies instruction.

     In Texas, for example, students get “little or no social studies education” between kindergarten and fifth grade, according to a recent article. Social studies often “get pushed aside when it comes to classroom instruction time, especially with an increased emphasis in high-stakes testing”. In Florida, increased emphasis on the Common Core Standards is likely to introduce more language arts concepts into the teaching of social studies and other subject areas.

Stone of Hope 3
Stone of Hope at the Martin Luther King, Jr.
National Monument in Washington, DC
National Parks Service
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