Letters: The End of Social Studies
LIANE HANSEN, host:
Time now for your letters. And we received a number about the interview with Fred Risinger on the lessened emphasis on teaching social studies in the wake of the No Child Left Behind Act.
The impact noted in this discussion is not limited to social studies, writes John Mullen(ph) of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Recently I was told by a high school advisor that many geometry teachers do not attempt to teach their students how to construct proofs because that skill is not covered in the NCLB exams. I was quite shocked to hear this, since a primary justification for having students take geometry is their development of critical thinking skills, which will serve them in many settings, even if they never use geometry.
It appears to me that there is a growing emphasis on the acquisition of facts and specific methods and less emphasis on analytical skills and higher-level thinking because of the NCLB and other high-stakes exams.
Stephanie Rossi(ph) of Denver, Colorado, herself a high school social studies teacher, added: The test pressure has increased over the years, and yes, I am teaching grammar, mechanics and reading strategies in my classes, but I have adopted an I-won't-be-stopped attitude in that I will find creative ways to infuse my curriculum with current events via the grammar lessons, and thus conversations about global warming, the war in Iraq and election cycles are ongoing. It is tragic if we as educators don't feed their curiosity with an understanding and a way to digest the world around them, as they will be running the world in the not-so-distant future.
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