The 2018 government shutdown is bad for just about everybody. And it seems like it happened over something that most Americans want to see happen – protection for Dreamers. A Fox News poll says 86% of us support DACA. A CBS poll reports 87% supporting the idea.
But the shutdown does create an opportunity to jump into all sorts of conversations involving civics and procedure and policy and elections and checks and balances and three branches and media bias . . . well, you get the idea. If you haven’t already, this week might be a good time to jump ship on your scheduled curriculum and spend some time making connections to the government side of the social studies.
As Kansas teachers, some of us are in our last week of school, others (like myself) still have another week to go. I’d like to wish all of you the smoothest possible finale to your year.
That said, once you have a chance to catch up on your sleep and spend some long overdue time with your loved ones, I have a request to make. I’d like to encourage you to work your civics muscle. We’re social studies teachers and since the civics engagement/government stuff is part of why we got into this content in the first place, I’m guessing you already keep up with what’s going on in Topeka and DC. The fact remains that we are busy professionals with personal lives and it gets hard to keep up with everything. If you have the opportunity this summer to attend a town hall or otherwise contact your Senators and Representatives, please do. Here’s a little on what KCSS has been doing and some sources for what else is happening with education funding.
Last week, the Kansas Council for the Social Studies signed onto a letter with 140 other organizations, urging the continued funding of ESSA Title II-A. The proposed Trump budget would eliminate these funds which assist with funds for teacher training and quality.
Megan Nieman is a high school teacher in McPherson, Kansas and a member of the Kansas Council for the Social Studies executive board.
I realize that we are several months past the 2016 election but the great thing about teaching social studies is there are an abundance of political elections that we can discuss throughout the year! I learned about the Museum of Moving Image site, Living Room Candidate, about seven years ago. I’ve used it here and there when talking about presidential elections and campaigns but as I recently began teaching a modern American History course, the site has become an excellent supplement to my curriculum.
Okay . . . admit it. How many of you didn’t know that today is Bill of Rights Day?
Come on, it’s okay.
Yes, I see those hands.
I first ran across Bill of Rights Day a few years ago. I consider myself a person who keeps up with this sort of thing but I had no idea. Back in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15 to be Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. So it’s been around a while.
And we probably need to make a bigger deal out of this than we are. Civic literacy and understanding of the nuance embedded in the first 10 Amendments seems a bit low right about now.