State School Board Sets New Social Studies Standards

The State Board of Education has decided and agreed on a new set of social studies standards to be taught in Michigan schools.

For the past five years, teachers and administrators have been working on the new core values Michigan students should be learning in social studies classes.

“You didn’t lose content as a result of that,” says Dave Johnson, instructional consultant for the Wexford-Missaukee Intermediate School District, “It’s still there. It’s just been rearranged.”

It has been a contentious issue for the state school board for years but it is now done. The state has a new set of standards for teachers and their social studies students. The last update was in 2007.

“Every time we brought in another group for feedback, we shifted the standards and tried to incorporate as much of the feedback as possible,” says Johnson, “As long as it was accurate.”

Johnson was on the task force who wrote the new plan. He says it was originally supposed to take a year, it took more than five.

“Ultimately it was about being able to be sure it was fair and accurate representation of historical figures that had been in there and a lot of discussion on historical figures that had been may be left out of the 2007 standard that should’ve been included in some way shape or form,” says Johnson.

Social studies, unlike math and science, is a growing changing and breathing subject so as our perspective changes as a country, so does how we see the history of this nation. That would change how we teach it going forward.

“Our perspective changes over time,” says Johnson, “But the topics don’t.”

Some topics like geography were just rearranged. Some historical figures were highlighted more while others were removed. This is a new plan for the future and a set standard for teachers.

“For every teacher there’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment the next few years,” says Johnson, “The teachers I’ve talked to are generally excited that we’re finally at this point and that we have a set of approved standards to work from from this point forward.”