ADVOCATING SOCIAL STUDIES IN INDIANA
ADVOCATING SOCIAL STUDIES IN INDIANA
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The Indiana Council for the Social Studies (ICSS) actively collaborates with local and state organizations to promote and improve the teaching of social studies in Indiana. The means for achieving this include providing a forum for professional discussion; providing materials designed to aid in social studies teaching; establishing linkage with institutions and members who have similar professional purposes; webinars and ongoing professional development opportunities for improving the use of primary source documents in Indiana classrooms, and an annual conference.
The notion that public education, and the students served by it, are in need of saving by an educational-industrial complex that is more concerned about access to public tax monies over the needs of communities is more than concerning to educators; it’s risen to insulting.
The latest assault and round of insults on public education, which makes little mention of private, in-home or parochial education options, are politically motivated for a false benefit of a few rather than the true needs of the many. Especially insulting is HB 1134; that has been passed by the lower chamber and is now moving through the Indiana Senate. This bill threatens to destroy the open exchange of ideas, thoughts, and learning our students need to understand themselves, learn empathy and compassion and to develop active citizenship skills.
American democracy is built upon the notion that the free exchange of ideas between individuals, groups, and the wider world is inherently healthy for the continued growth of democratic ideals. Any legislation that seeks to destroy established concepts of open inquiry and discussion, which have been the cornerstone of learning in the modern age, is an affront to educators at all levels. The current Indiana legislation would confine students to rote-learning, dissuade engagement in debate or discussion, and suppress the attainment of crucial skills sorely needed for healthy interpersonal interaction in personal and professional relationships including college, career, or military service.
Under the fear of negative yearly evaluations, potential financially draining lawsuits and other intellectual threats, the legislation would coerce professional educators into abandoning their personal and professional commitment to teaching young people with engaging, accurate, fact-based, science-backed and historically accepted curriculum. The current legislation, no matter how many amendments it now has, would have the unintended consequence of reducing entrants into teacher education programs, as a host of prior legislative and media assaults on public education in Indiana have done. Reducing teacher preparation programs to little more than training sessions or unproven and untried mentorships simply seeks to relegate teaching to a punch card employee status while setting our children and grandchildren up to be “taught” by underprepared, under supervised and even lower paid employees.
The Indiana Council for the Social Studies stands firmly against the proposed egregious, oppressive, anti-educational and anti-Hoosier HB 1134. We strongly urge our elected representatives to collect and earnestly read the appropriate data on the unintended consequences of the statements made in the document. The bill is nothing short of an attempt to annihilate free thought and debate in Hoosier schools which, in turn, will impact residents in the Hoosier state.
We urge you to seek the guidance of those who, until recently, were considered “essential workers” and had to be back in their classrooms at all costs in order to help the economy recover and prevent long term emotional stress. We stand ready to offer quality ideas for bills that will benefit and elevate the many; not placate the politically misled notions of a few.
Sincerely, Troy Hammon
President: Indiana Council for the Social Studies
25-year Social Studies public school teacher
The Indiana Council for the Social Studies fully supports the statement made by the National Council for the Social Studies.
As an organization devoted to supporting Social Studies teachers in Indiana, it is our position that it is the job of educators to dismantle harmful systems of racial oppression in education.
We must teach like our lives depend on it, because for some of us, it does.
The Indiana Council for the Social Studies supports educators in moving beyond allyship and advocacy for their Black and Brown students to being accomplices in the fight for justice and equality, with concrete ways to do our parts to remove racial oppression out of our schools. To that end, we endorse the following resources as a first step for educators beginning this work:
The Indiana Council for the Social Studies will continue to dialogue with educators from around the state. We will continue to put together meaningful opportunities for development and conversations that will advance equality and justice in education for our students. We welcome your feedback and ideas about how we can meet your needs at this critical time.
Black Lives Matter.
Black Students Matter.
Black Educators Matter.
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