kitchen table math, the sequel: 11/23/14 - 11/30/14

Monday, November 24, 2014

A historian reads NY's Common Core Social Studies "Framework"

Peter Meyer just sent New York's Common Core Social Studies Framework. Ed (who is an actual historian) is reading, and I am typing:


"trying to do everything in two years with relatively young students"

"Paleolithic to modern day in 2 years"

"breathtakingly superficial"

"trying to teach the analytical abilities--compare & contrast, critical thinking, making arguments--and also covering a massive insane amount of information"

"it's got knowledge, but way too much of it and way too superficial" -- but also it has these "very advanced analytical skills"

"a whole grid of [analytical] things you're supposed to do"

"then there are themes"

"social studies practices"

"gathering, interpreting, and using evidence"

"under that there are 7 things"

"deconstruct and construct plausible and persuasive arguments using evidence"

"create meaningful and persuasive understandings of the past by fusing disparate and relevant evidence from primary and secondary sources and drawing connections to the present" - "that's one thing and that's just one of 7 things - practices! - under the first category of practices"

"categories of practices -- there are six different categories, each of which has between 6 and 8 subcategories, so we've got about 50 categories altogether"

"then we have reading standards for literacy in history/social studies"

"4 different categories under that"

"then there are text types and purposes"

"4 categories under that"

"range of writing, whatever that is"

"then there's speaking and listening standards, a zillion of those"

"only after those things are mentioned do we get to global history and geography"

"I love this"

"we've already gone through 10 pages of practices, reading standards, writing standards, speaking and presentation standards, then we get to a subheading called Global history and geography"

"this two-year sequence is arranged chronologically, beginning with the Paleolithic and continuing to the present"

"and then, the first thing we have after that, is 10 themes"

"Individual Development and Cultural Identity"

"Development, Movement, and Interaction of Cultures"

"the next one I love a lot: Time, Continuity, and Change --- how about that for a small one?"

"Oh my God, this is just .... "

"and so the first unit is called The First Civilizations, it goes from around 10,000 BCE to 630 CE, so that's 11 centuries in the first unit"

"and then of course there's a zillion subthemes under that"

"then the next one is just 1300 years"

"and it's not just Europe, it's the world, it's China, it's Africa..."

"I love the next one, it's called 'An Age of Expanding Connections' and that's also a thousand years"

"we're talking 9th graders, this is still 9th grade"

"so we're now on page 19 and we've gotten to the end of 9th grade"

"teachers should note that some KEY IDEAS -- that's in caps -- may require extra time and attention. For example, 10.1 The World in 750 is a brief introduction and will not require as much time as other key ideas. So it gives the exception rather than the example of a key idea that will require extra time."

"While the course emphasizes the importance of historical and spatial thinking, all of the social studies practices and standards are included in the study of global history and geography -- This is the kitchen sink. They're trying to do all of the politically correct stuff, which is thinking, and then they have knowledge."

"and so the 10th grade course is plausible - it's 1750 to the present - that's completely plausible"

"in 9th grade you're going from 10,000 BC to 1750 AD"

"students will examine efforts to unify, stabilize, and centralize Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate!"

"oh, and then students will compare and contrast the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan with France under the rule of the Bourbon Dynasty, looking at the rule of Edo and Paris/Versailles"

"then you're looking at attempts to control the daimyo and nobles ------- and the development of bureaucracies!"

"this is just one of three things you're doing under Theme 10.1, which is the theme you're not supposed to spend very much time of because it's just a snapshot of the world in 1750"

"and then the next unit goes from 1750 to 1914"

"that is a long mother of a unit"

"under that you do Enlightenment, Revolution, Nationalism"

"then the causes and effects of the Industrial Revolution"

"then Imperialism"

"basically they're trying to satisfy all these different constituencies, you've got the Hirsch knowledge constituency, you've got the critical thinking constituency, you've got the historical practices constituency ... they've just thrown it all in... plus you've got all the literacy stuff, too"

"they cover the entire Enlightenment by comparing one text by Hobbes to one text by Locke"

"nothing about the Scottish Enlightenment"

"nothing about the German Englightenment"

"nothing about the French Enlightenment"

"just these two British guys"