Articles

KY Soc Studies

In Alerts on May 6, 2017 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , , ,

This just in from Christy Cartner, Bryan Station High School, Kentucky Council for the Social Studies – Steering Committee

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Friends of Social Studies,

We are seeking your help in ensuring that social studies is well represented within the new accountability system. I don’t have to explain how social studies education helps foster “the whole child.” The KY Department of Education (KDE) is seeking feedback on a new accountability system that corresponds with the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). Recently, town hall meetings were held with Commissioner Pruitt and now they are requesting participation in a survey. This survey will likely close within the week, so time is of the essence!

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey and pass it along to teachers, administrators, students, family, members of the community, etc. Also, don’t forget to complete it for yourself! Survey results are being collected on a spreadsheet, which will inform Commissioner Pruitt of our opinions and concerns moving forward. The survey includes Feedback Statements designed to collect your reaction on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Sample responses with a Social Studies focus are at the bottom of this message.

Survey Link:

https://www.research.net/r/KyAccountability

Here are some resources to better understand the accountability system:

Here are the survey questions. Feel free to use these responses which are specific to Social Studies advocacy:

  • Please choose the primary role that best describes you.
    Personal opinion
  • The dashboard gauges communicate a simple, high level picture of school performance (pg. 7 of PPT)
    Personal opinion
  • A school that has a large gap or a student group that is underperforming and not making progress should not be able to earn the highest overall rating.
    Personal opinion
  • Kentuckians will be more informed by including both measures that are part of a school’s accountability rating and measures that are reported only.
    Personal opinion
  • It is critical to report how much students have the opportunity to participate in quality experiences and have access to school supports which impact their success.
    Personal opinion – and some sample responses: “While I am encouraged by many of the indicators which seem to be opening the door to accountability approaches that are reflective of different needs and learning styles, I have concerns as to what “opportunity and access” indicators might look like for social studies. Because civic education is the original intent of education and because most schools include civics as part of their mission statements, we think that it is imperative that civic education be included within the “Opportunity and Access” section of the the new accountability system as nothing addresses the whole child than preparing them for civic engagement. This is not just a social studies issue, but an educational one across all contents and grade levels. How will looking at what programs are offered really reflect for a content area that has mandated requirements? Even looking at how many courses and electives are offered will reveal very little about the quality of the program in terms of reporting. I encourage you to consider ways that not only social studies but other program areas might also be leveraged to better the educational experiences for our students.”
  • Schools should help prepare students with essential skills (i.e., responsibility, dependability)
    Personal opinion – and some sample responses: “I am encouraged by the “Transition Readiness” component of the proposed accountability system. However, I am concerned that nowhere in any of the language is include anything related to civic readiness. While there is mention of service learning, this concept is substantially different than civic learning or informed civic engagement. I would argue that the basis of all proposed measures in the “Transition Readiness” component are truly measures of civic readiness. Our system of public education was created with two vitally important purposes, to prepare our youth for success in a career and equally importantly, to provide the knowledge and skills to be an informed, engaged citizenry. Civic learning in schools is the most effective way to prepare Kentucky’s students for informed and active participation in not only a healthy democracy, but in a healthy workforce. As a result, we would like to ask that this notion be considered and that measures of “foundational essential skills” be highly embedded and interwoven with civic skills, knowledge and dispositions.”
  • High schools should help prepare students with essential skills (for example, attendance, responsibility and dependability).
    Personal opinion – and some sample responses: “I agree that “staying with the status quo is not good enough for the Commonwealth. We need a system that will generate better outcomes for all of our kids and will support the economic development of Kentucky.” The basis for such a statement assumes an educated and informed citizenry in the areas of government and civics, geography, cultural studies, economics and historical thinking. Your statement demands a robust social studies education in order to meet this goal. Social studies education remains the only content area that has yet to receive standards since 2009’s SB1. I advocate that social studies standards—which include both content and skill development–be made a priority. Consider the potential of a high school capstone project, centered in civic readiness and community participation.
  • Allowing multiple ways (for example, tests, advanced coursework or dual credit) for students to demonstrate academic or technical readiness at high school is important and desirable.
    Personal opinion – and some sample responses: “It is my opinion that such a system is long overdue and that the people of our Commonwealth deserve nothing less. As an informed social studies educator, I am united in our concern for an adequate and acceptable answer to the question of accountability. I cannot afford to shy away from trying to improve social studies education for our most precious commodity, our students. Social studies is one of the remaining content areas that has not adopted revised standards since SB 1 of 2009 called for revisions by law. While I applaud that the new accountability system calls for assessments to be aligned to standards, it is past time for new standards to drive the new assessments. It is my hope that we will continue down the path of non-traditional assessments like those currently being developed in science and that something similar will be created for social studies – something to encourage best instructional practices rather than teaching to a test.”
  • Reporting additional credentials for students with a Kentucky Plus designation is positive. (see pg. 2 of “At a Glance” document)
    Personal opinion – and some sample responses: “A Kentucky Plus designation allows students to be recognized for mastering advanced specific skills in addition to “transition readiness” credentials. I would love to see a civic readiness component or democratic distinction that students could add to their diploma. Civic education should appear within “Transition Readiness” as students need to engage each other, different ideas, and as an all encompassing part of each grade level.”
  • It is important for students to have personal growth targets toward proficiency.
    Personal opinion
  • Growth should be reported at the school level based on students’ individual growth grouped together for the school, according to whether students “catch up,” “keep up,” or “move up.
    Personal opinion
  • Kentucky schools should be expected to improve the proficiency of every student group, every year.
    Personal opinion
  • Reporting the disparity between demographic groups in the School Report Card is valuable.
    Personal opinion
  • Reporting student outcomes some time at the postsecondary level is an important measure of high school readiness and should be reported even though a school cannot directly control student variables that may impact outcomes.
    Personal opinion

Christy Cartner
Bryan Station High School, Lexington KY – US History, APUSH
Kentucky Council for the Social Studies – Steering Committee

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