New York state could reportedly adopt Common Core framework for social studies curriculums as early as this month that address capitalism, democracy, economic inequality and the progressive era, a potential departure from what has been a chief defense of the standards – mainly, that they only affect math and English and would thus would be insulated from a political agenda.
Karima Hawkins of Jackson, foreground, holds a sign against Common Core, the State Standards Initiative that established a single set of educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. Opponents of Common Core hope to convince legislators into ending the initiative. Lawmakers return to the Capitol for a three-month session this year. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
“The freedom of the United States economy encourages entrepreneurialism,” the proposed Common Core social studies framework for grades 9-12 reads. “This is an important factor behind economic growth that can lead to intended consequences (e.g., growth, competition, innovation, improved standard of living, productivity, specialization, trade, outsourcing, class mobility, positive externalities) and unintended consequences (e.g., recession, depression, trade, unemployment, outsourcing, generational poverty, income inequality, the challenges of class mobility, negative externalities.).”
The proposed framework adds, “A degree of regulation, oversight, or government control is necessary in some markets to ensure free and fair competition and to limit unintended consequences of American capitalism.”
There are a separate set of proposed standards for both grades k-8 and grades 9-12.
Common Core State Standards were adopted by 45 states, though hotly debated in most legislatures. They were initially English and math standards developed by the National Governors Association.
The proposed k-8 standards for New York deal less with economics and more with history and government, including the founding, the Civil War, the progressive movement of the early 20th century and World Wars I and II, and state, “The purpose of government is to protect the rights of citizens and to promote the common good.”
“The United States is founded on the democratic principles of equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules,” the proposed k-8 standards for New York says. “Students will explore democratic principles such as dignity for all, equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules, and how those principles are applied to their community.”
The proposed k-8 standards go on to discuss the progressive movement.
“Progressive era reformers sought to address political and social issues at the local, state, and federal levels of government between 1890 and 1920,” the proposed standards say. “These efforts brought renewed attention to women’s rights and the suffrage movement and spurred the creation of government reform policies.”
“Students will investigate reformers and muckrakers such as Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, W. E. B. du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Ida Tarbell, Eugene V. Debs, Jacob Riis, Booker T. Washington, and Upton Sinclair. Student investigations should include the key issues in the individual’s work and the actions that individual took or recommended to address those issues,” the proposed standards add.
Townhall noted that the standards – while focusing respect for authority — do not mention liberty, which is in the Declaration of Independence.
The k-8 standards did talk about freedom, saying, “New Yorkers have rights and freedoms that are guaranteed in the United States Constitution, in the New York State Constitution, and by state laws … Students will examine the rights and freedoms guaranteed to citizens.”
The proposed social studies standards for 9-12 further say, “The United States Constitution aims to protect individual freedoms and rights which have been extended to more groups of people over time. These rights and freedoms continue to be debated, extended to additional people, and defined through judicial interpretation.”
The New York State Board of Regents for k-12 schools reviewed the standards on March 10, reported the education trade publication New York Chalkbeat.
New York state has had numerous problems with the implementation of existing math and English Common Core standards, drawing criticism from both parents and teachers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed a review panel to look at Common Core.
The regents Vice Chancellor Anthony Bottar noted these problems at the March 10 meeting and “the bruising we have taken” over the Common Core, Chalkbeat reported.
“I need to know for sure that you have searched where you can and have talked to people, so that if we adopt what you are recommending, there isn’t going to be this huge undercurrent of, ‘We didn’t know,’” she said.
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