The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has revised its elementary Social Studies standards into integrated frameworks for instruction. This shift aligns elementary Social Studies in Maryland with the demands of the national College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework. The MSDE frameworks embed the C3's inquiry-based approach and elevate elementary Social Studies instruction to a more engaging, student-centered discipline.
Why do we need the C3 Framework?
- Marginalization of the Social Studies – The loss of instructional time at the elementary level and the narrowing of instruction in response to multiple-choice, high-stakes testing has significantly impacted time, resources, and support for the social studies. The introduction of the Maryland College and Career Readiness standards provided an opportunity for social studies educators to re-frame instruction to promote disciplinary literacy in social studies in such a way as to allow social studies to regain a more balanced and elevated role in the K-12 curriculum.
- Motivation of Students – Children and adolescents are naturally curious about the complex and multifaceted world they inhabit. But they quickly become disengaged when instruction is limited to reading textbooks to answer end-of-chapter questions and taking multiple-choice tests that may measure content knowledge but do little to measure how knowledge is meaningful and applicable in the real world. The C3 Framework addresses this issue in fundamental ways.
- The Future of Our Democracy – Abundant research bears out the sad reality that fewer and fewer young people, particularly students of color and students in poverty, are receiving a high-quality social studies education, despite the central role of social studies in preparing students for the responsibilities of citizenship. Active and responsible citizens are able to identify and analyze public problems, deliberate with other people about how to define and address issues, take constructive action together, reflect on their actions, create and sustain groups, and influence institutions both large and small. They vote, serve on juries when called, follow the news and current events, and participate in voluntary groups and efforts. Implementing the C3 Framework to teach students to be able to act in these ways — as citizens — significantly enhances preparation for college and career.
Guidance for Enhancing the Rigor of K-12 Civics, Economics, Geography, and History
The result of a three year state-led collaborative effort, the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards was developed to serve two audiences: for states to upgrade their state social studies standards and for practitioners — local school districts, schools, teachers and curriculum writers — to strengthen their social studies programs. Its objectives are to:
- enhance the rigor of the social studies disciplines;
- build critical thinking, problem solving, and participatory skills to become engaged citizens and
align academic programs to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies.