I am not sure what to make of last week’s almost-unreported news of a “vision for the… framework” of social studies announced by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Checker Finn read vacuity in it.1 I am not quite sure, except for the weird claim by the CCSSO’s executive director that “CSSSO is not developing a set of social studies standards for mass adoption or adaption. We are creating a framework that we hope will serve as a resource for you” [presumably “you” being states]. So this is a developing set of standards that no one will admit is a set of standards, nor do they want states to adopt them en masse, though I’m sure they’d be happy if all states used them, maybe waiting five minutes between each announcement of the adoption.
All I know is that when a committee or coalition starts talking about a “College, Career and Civic Life Framework” and try out “C3” as a shortcut term for that, the second effort to create a
national common set of academic standards looks like it’s in danger of dying with a whimper, not a bang.
- Before he panics, Finn needs to reread the 1990s Council on Basic Education report on the first attempt to create national history standards: despite Lynne Cheney’s lies about that work and fetishing of certain names, the fundamental approach was just fine. [↩]