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April 29, 2014
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JP O'Hare

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Regents Adopt Social Studies Framework: New Guidelines Will Prepare Students for Citizenship and Civic Engagement

The Board of Regents today adopted the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework to provide schools and teachers with information they need to consider modifications to local social studies curriculum for students in grades K-12. The Social Studies Framework has drawn support from social studies teachers, professional organizations, and other state and national education organizations. It includes key ideas and concepts for each grade level and incorporates Common Core skills in literacy, writing, speaking and listening, as well as social studies practices.

"The Regents reform efforts have one goal in mind – to prepare all students for a productive life after high school," Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. "That means they're prepared for college and a career, but it also means they're prepared for civic engagement in an informed way. That can happen only if they have a solid foundation in social studies, and the Framework we've adopted today will help make that possible."

Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said, "Work on the Framework has been ongoing for nearly three years, and we've received guidance and input from a broad range of content experts along the way. Updating the social studies Framework has truly been a collaborative, inclusive effort. The expert input we've received has helped us develop a very strong roadmap for social studies instruction. Our students will understand social studies better, and they'll become better citizens."

King said the Framework has widespread support, including New York State United Teachers, New York State Social Studies Supervisors Association, New York State Council for the Social Studies, Holocaust and Human Rights Center, Native American Resource Center, Project Brownstone, the Council for Economic Education, the New York Geographic Alliance, councils of social studies teachers from virtually every region of the state including the Association of Teachers of Social Studies/AFT, and many other experts.

The five existing standards in Social Studies remain unchanged: (1) history of the United States and New York, (2) world history, (3) geography, (4) economics, and (5) civics, citizenship and government. The Framework also retains the current order of courses, from Kindergarten through grade 12. The Framework integrates information from the existing New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies (1996); the New York State Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects; and the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Social Studies State Standards from National Council for the Social Studies.

In May 2011, the Board of Regents directed Education Department staff to create a Social Studies Content Advisory Panel, consisting of a wide range of social studies experts, including several highly distinguished social studies teachers. The Panel has met since the fall of 2011 and has advised the Department on several versions of the Framework. Drafts of the Framework have been made available for public review and commentary; additional reviews and comments have been submitted by numerous individuals and groups. The Framework provides specificity while allowing room for in-depth exploration, creates a rigorous program that is also realistic for all students, and captures the most significant events while creating opportunities to connect to local history and current events.

A short video containing interviews with some of the New York State educators who helped develop the Framework is available here:

The Regents Item approved by the Board of Regents is available here: The Item includes a detailed list of the groups that have expressed support for the new Framework.

The Framework is available here:

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