Florida’s public schools have the responsibility for creating an informed and active citizenry. This goal requires our students receive a firm foundation in each of the four major areas represented in the Sunshine State Standards for Social Studies – history, government/civics, economics and geography. Sadly, it appears from several accounts that we may be failing to adequately prepare our students, thus ill-equipping our state and nation to meet this important goal.
As many recent surveys attest, we no longer can afford the luxury of assuming students are actually learning about the heritage of our nation or that they possess the essential economic, civic, geographic or historical competencies to equip them for their future responsibilities as citizens! Unfortunately for both our nation and state, we are totally ignorant of what knowledge, skills and civic dispositions our students actually do possess in Florida. This is a recipe for future disaster!
The Florida Association of Social Studies Supervisors (FASSS) and the Florida Council for the Social Studies (FCSS) are committed to restoring our curriculum to its rightful place among the other core, basic subject area disciplines. In this valiant struggle, we need the help of all social studies educators and civic minded citizens! Join the legislative oversight committee by contacting the current chairperson at firstname.lastname@example.org . “Grassroots advocates” are needed in every county to contact legislators, work with affiliated groups and to speak out on the vital need for a revitalized civic mission in the public schools.
The FASSS-FCSS. legislative committee is making a difference both at the state and national levels. The committee was responsible for getting NCSS (and other national organizations) to argue for a reform of the 2006 N.A.E.P. assessment in Civics and U.S. History, and we took the lead in lobbying Congress for passage of S659 (111th Congress) which argues for comparative state scores in the 2010 N.A.E.P. assessment. We’re proud that we represent the first professional organization to call for disaggregated data in the form of state-by-state comparisons for all NAEP Civics, History and Geography assessments as far back as the 106th Congress. It was our phone calls to Senator Lamar Alexander’s educational assistant, Kristin Bannerman, that successfully resulted in persuading the former U.S. Secretary of Education to file such a bill. Our committee was also able to capture the attention of U.S. Representative Jim Davis (D-Tampa), and led him to take action by filing another bill that would withhold federal dollars from any state such as Florida that no longer required U.S History or Government for all of its high school graduates.
At the state level we continue our fight against determined state bureaucrats and legislators who oppose Social Studies being added to Florida’s Student Progression Law which effectively consigns our curriculum to an inferior status within public education. Despite mentioning Reading, Writing, Math and Science, current Florida law does not require districts to even consider a student’s performance in Social Studies as that child is being considered for promotion in grades K-5! As a result, recent surveys reveal that over 80% of Florida's elementary school instructors actually teach Social Studies less than two hours per week!
Our committee led the battle to restore the graduation requirements of American History, American Government, World History and Economics for ALL students in Florida in 2006! We are also leading the battle to make sure Social Studies is not similarly left out of the implementation of end-of-course exams at the middle and high school level.
We need your help with these and other legislative initiatives! Join F.C.S.S. and become a member of the legislative ‘grassroots’ committee. If you don’t have the time for this, consider making an extra financial contribution to F.C.S.S. for this purpose! Contact our Executive Director, Dr. Theron Trimble, at email@example.com for details.
For a list of our legislative goals for this year, click on LEGISLATIVE GOALS. For an overview of last year’s legislative session, click on: Overview of 2009 Session.
For further information regarding Florida’s Legislature, go to “Online Sunshine.”
Remember, anyone can file a legislative advocacy report! Download the template here. (hyperlink to file) Just email Jason Caros or Jack Bovee with your desire to get involved!
Stay informed on developments on our curriculum area. Sign up to receive “Legislative Updates” similar to the sample here.