Saturday, May 3, 2003

FCSS President Ralph Egolf Urges Social Studies Testing!

President’s Message

In my last message I wrote about the crisis for us as a discipline in this state. On be­half of the FCSS, I wrote a letter to Secre­tary of Education, Jim Home, regarding the lack of a social studies specialist and our desire for inclusion in the FCAT. Al­though I have never received a reply, I am pleased to report that a specialist has been recommended to fill the long stand­ing vacancy that we will finally have a voice again at the DOE. The jury is still out regarding the FCAT. FCSS has en­gaged the services of a lobbyist to look out for the interests of social studies educa­tors. One thing he has confirmed is that we need to develop a broader base of sup­port, both from within our ranks and in the community.

Perhaps part of the problem is a lack of membership in the organization. As social studies educators, we know that numbers translate into increased influence. The Board of the FOSS believes that the per­centage of the total number of social stud­ies educators in Florida who are currently members is far too small to gain much at­tention from the Department of Education or with the Legislature. Please help your FOSS District Representative recruit new members. Updated applications are now available on our website:

On a very positive note, our recent confer­ence in Tampa was an unqualified suc­cess. Over one thousand dedicated pro­fessionals attended, making it one of the largest conferences in our history. The Board is especially pleased with the in­creased participation of educators from private schools. Welcome! Many thanks to Kathy Taylor, her subcommittee chairs, the committee members, and the many volun­teers who made this wonderful opportunity for enrichment and comradery possi­ble. I am already looking forward to our next conference that is being held at the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel in Jacksonville the week of October 14th. The Conference Committee has planned a slightly different format that should make it even more enjoyable than it has been.

One last note. Please consider ap­plying for grants from our endowment fund. The Endowment Committee has awarded nearly $40,000 since 1996, but is anxious to distribute even more. Average awards range from $250 to $1,500, but higher amounts have been made available. We would like to help you fund that workshop, institute, special instruc­tional unit, scholarship, or local coun­cil project. Visit our website for guidelines and an application!

Ralph Egolf
Florida Council for the
Social Studies President

Trends and Issues, Vol. XIV No. 1 (Spring 2002) p. 2.