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: fcss.org
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!
Florida Council for the
Social Studies President
Trends and Issues, Vol. XIV No. 1 (Spring 2002) p. 2.