Social Studies in the New Education Policy Era : Conversations on Purposes, Perspectives, and Practices book cover
1st Edition

Social Studies in the New Education Policy Era
Conversations on Purposes, Perspectives, and Practices

ISBN 9781138283961
Published February 9, 2018 by Routledge
276 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Social Studies in the New Education Policy Era is a series of compelling open-ended education policy dialogues among various social studies scholars and stakeholders. By facilitating conversations about the relationships among policy, practice, and research in social studies education, this collection illuminates various positions—some similar, some divergent—on contested issues in the field, from the effects of standardized curriculum and assessment mandates on K–12 teaching to the appropriate roles of social studies educators as public policy advocates. Chapter authors bring diverse professional experiences to the questions at hand, offering readers multiple perspectives from which to delve into well-informed discussions about social studies education in past, present, and future policy contexts.

Collectively, their commentaries aim to inspire, challenge, and ultimately strengthen readers’ beliefs about the place of social studies in present and future education policy environments.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Social studies in the new education policy era: Introducing conversations on purposes, perspectives, and practices

Kevin W. Meuwissen, University of Rochester

Paul G. Fitchett, University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Section I - Purposes: The uncomfortable gap between what social studies purports to do and how it is positioned in K-12 education

CHAPTER 1: "Why are there disparities among the general public, policymakers, and social studies educators relative to the aims of the social studies curriculum, and what should be done about them?"

Defining Social Studies: The Key to Bridging Gaps

Jeff Passe, California State Polytechnic University Pomona


Disparate Aims for the Social Studies Curriculum

Stephen J. Thornton, University of South Florida


Passe’s Response to Thornton


Thornton’s Response to Passe


CHAPTER 2: "To what extent are social studies standards useful and consequential as policy tools at state, district, and classroom levels?"

Policy As Metaphor

S.G. Grant, Binghamton University


Social Studies Standards: Too Little For Too Long

Tim Slekar, Edgewood College


Grant’s Response to Slekar


Slekar’s Response to Grant


CHAPTER 3: "How might policy tools and activities contribute to reprioritizing social studies education in elementary-level curriculum and instruction?"

The Promise of Policy and Action for the Reprioritization of Social Studies

Tina L. Heafner, University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Promoting Elementary Social Studies through Policy: Possibilities within Multiple Contexts of Schooling

Judith L. Pace, University of San Francisco


Heafner’s Response to Pace


Pace’s Response to Heafner


Section II - Perspectives: Disciplinary viewpoints on social studies education policy

CHAPTER 4: "Can education policies be effective tools for encouraging youth civic engagement and activism in schools?"

The possibilities of policy relative to the purposes of civic education

Peter Levine, Tufts University


Legislate conditions, not curriculum and pedagogy

Beth Rubin, Rutgers University


Levine’s Response to Rubin


Rubin’s Response to Levine


CHAPTER 5: "How and to what extent does education policy unite the discipline of history to the academic subject of social studies, and is this a fruitful union?"

Finding possible policy directions in the shared purposes of history and social studies education: A Canadian perspective

Alan Sears, University of New Brunswick


Building consensus around a roadmap for inquiry in the United States

John K. Lee, North Carolina State University & Kathy Swan, University of Kentucky


Sears’s Response to Lee and Swan


Lee and Swan’s Response to Sears


CHAPTER 6: "What is the potential impact of the C3 as a policy tool on curriculum development in traditionally underrepresented social studies disciplines?"

Economic Education: Social Studies’ "Marginal" Discipline

Phillip J. VanFossen, Purdue University


Best of Times, Worst of Times: Geography Education Today

Sarah Bednarz, Texas A & M University


VanFossen’s Response to Bednarz


Bednarz’s Response to VanFossen


Section III - Practices: How policy impacts the enactment of curriculum and instruction in the social studies


CHAPTER 7: "Should a stronger policy emphasis be placed on domain-specific high-leverage practices or core practices in history/social studies teaching?"

From Defining Content to Supporting Instruction: A Case for Core Practice Policy

Brad Fogo, San Francisco State University


"High-Leverage Practices in the Social Studies? Not so Fast": Cautious Considerations for Teaching and Learning Policy

Stephanie van Hover, University of Virginia


Fogo Response to van Hover


van Hover Response to Fogo


CHAPTER 8: "What kinds of assessment policies, practices, and tools do social studies learners and teachers deserve, and why?"

Reframing the Narrative: Research on How Students Learn as the Basis for Assessment Policy

Bruce VanSledright, University of North Carolina at Charlotte


The Center Fails: Devolving Assessment Authority to Educators

Gabriel A. Reich, Virginia Commonwealth University


VanSledright Response to Reich


Reich Response to VanSledright


CHAPTER 9: "What roles should federal and/or state departments of education play in social studies learning, teaching, and curriculum?"

Revising federal assessment policy and reprioritizing social studies education across states

Bruce Lesh, Maryland State Department of Education


When good ideas make bad policies: Having the courage to change

David Gerwin, Queens College/CUNY


Lesh’s Response to Reich


Gerwin’s Response to Gerwin


Section IV - Advocacy: Policy activity and activism among teachers, teacher educators, and researchers in the social studies





CHAPTER 10: "What policy priorities should social studies education, as a field, advocate, and why?"

Prioritizing policy in the social studies: Orientation, context, and criteria

Todd Dinkelman, University of Georgia


Proposing A Seven-Step Social Studies Policy Advocacy Strategy

Michelle M. Herczog, Past President, National Council for the Social Studies


Dinkelman’s Response to Herczog


Herczog’s Response to Dinkelman


CHAPTER 11: "How might public policy engagement and political activism be situated within social studies teacher education programs?"

Teachers and teacher educators as public policy actors in today’s charged classrooms

Margaret Smith Crocco, Michigan State University


Critical democratic teacher education as policy engagement and political activism

Steven Camicia, Utah State University


Crocco’s Response to Camicia


Camicia’s Response to Crocco


CHAPTER 12: "What can the field of social studies education learn from policy research and reform in other domains?"

Policy Parables: Lessons of Education Policy from Outside the Social Studies

Paul G. Fitchett, University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Divergence and values in education policy: Lessons from other academic domains

Kevin W. Meuwissen, University of Rochester


Fitchett’s Response to Meuwissen


Meuwissen’s Response to Fitchett


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Paul G. Fitchett, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA

Kevin W. Meuwissen, University of Rochester, USA


'In Social Studies in the New Education Policy Era, Editors Paul Fitchett and Kevin Meuwissen pose significant policy-related questions to 22 social studies scholars and professionals. The result is a series of engaging and thought-provoking conversations between pairs of contributors about the past, current, and potential role of policies and political actors in social studies education. The lively dialogue between contributors reveals shared and divergent perspectives, and often suggests the complexity of policy in relation to impacts and contexts. In-depth conversations focused on policy and policy advocacy in social studies are rare; I believe the informative and spirited dialogue in this book will serve as the basis for much needed further discussion among all who care about the future of social studies education.' — Patricia G. Avery, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota