by Jenny Wells
In accordance with Constitution Day, a new framework for social studies education was published September 17 and is currently available to educators across the nation to upgrade their own state’s standards. Kathy Swan, associate professor in the UK College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, serves as a lead writer and director of the project.
The College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies states that its purpose is to provide states with “voluntary guidance for upgrading existing social studies standards” and to “support states in creating standards that prepare young people for effective and successful participation in college, careers, and civic life.”
The project was initiated by the Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction collaborative of the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2010 and is published by the National Council for Social Studies.
Since that time, Swan has presented the framework all over the country, encouraging states to consider using C3 in their districts. She and her team emphasize that this is not another set of Common Core standards, but rather a framework to guide states as they seek to upgrade existing state standards to align with the Common Core.
“I think the greatest contribution of the C3 Framework is the addition of civic readiness to the national conversation around student preparedness for college and career,” Swan said. “Instead of narrowing the purposes of K-12 education, the C3 Framework reminds educators of this essential mission by emphasizing the necessary skills that are critical to becoming active and engaged citizens. Critical thinking, collaboration and inquiry skills within the C3 offer a new vision to enhance the teaching of civics, economics, geography, and history from kindergarten to high school.”
As project director, Swan has worked with representatives from 23 state education agencies, 15 professional organizations, 17 writers, 50 teachers, 40+ curricular and business partners, and others.
Sandra Day O’Connor, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, has endorsed the project.
“Knowledge of our system of government and right and responsibilities as citizens is not passed down through the gene pool, it must be taught,” O’Conner, said. “The ‘College, Career and Civic Life’ Framework will help each state improve civic learning for all students.”
Kentucky and Maryland are already using the C3 to update their social studies standards and others are expected to follow.
The full document is available online today, free of charge. Swan has been at the UK College of Education since 2004. A former social studies teacher, she researches ways of effectively integrating technology into the K-12 social studies classroom, including documentary-making. She is a four time recipient of the National Technology Leadership Award in Social Studies Education co-sponsored by the College and University Faculty Assembly and the Society of Technology Leadership and Teacher Education.
Her research has appeared in Theory and Research in Social Education, International Journal of Social Education, Social Education, and Journal of Research on Technology in Education. Her co-authored book “And Action! Doing Documentaries in the Social Studies Classroom” and children’s series “Thinking Like a Citizen” are due to appear fall 2013. She is also the advisor for the Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum and Assessment Collaborative at the Chief Council of State School Officers and is the co-editor of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education – Social Studies.