Growing up, I got a great public school education that included a strong social studies curriculum, which has been my guide to good citizenship throughout life. So I was interested to learn awhile ago that the Colorado Department of Education was doing a mandated process of reviewing its standards for K-12 social studies instruction and that a proposed revision was posted on the department’s website. The revised document was developed by a committee of 35 teachers, administrators and content specialists.
Upon reading it, I came away pleased that my grandchildren will soon be beneficiaries of it. Built upon existing successful standards, proposed subject matter and teaching practices are well synchronized with children’s learning development. The process proceeds from basic social awareness levels in younger students to real comprehension and, ultimately, analytical decision-making among high schoolers. I was particularly pleased to see the expectation for greater social diversity coverage and more hands-on experiences for students.
Then I read two contrasting Summit Daily letters to the editor about the proposal. First was a letter submitted by Mike Tabb, chair of the local Republican group. It criticized the proposal’s emphasis on social issues regarded as divisive and called for more attention to Tabb’s version of American common values: an encore performance of the voter-rejected conservative position during Summit County’s recent school board election.
Subsequently, Kari Kronborg wrote in opposition to Tabb, calling for instruction that faces controversial issues head-on, including unbiased presentations of our country’s history.
The continuing posturing of Tabb and his allies is so obviously politically motivated that it will be supported by none but conservative die-hards. By letter to the state board of education, I am urging that the proposed policy be adopted without major modification. As such, it would have excellent prospects for producing generations of socially responsible Coloradans.