Building on a post from yesterday about textbook errors in sociology textbooks for fifth-graders in Macedonia, I was interested in knowing more about Illinois learning standards for social science for grades 1-5. Here are the five goals related to social science (pgs. 3-6 of the PDF):
Goal 14 – Understand political systems, with an emphasis on the United States.
The preservation and advancement of a free society within a constitutional democracy demands an informed, competent, and humane citizenry. Toward this end, civic education must be provided to students to help them learn, practice, and demonstrate the traits of a responsible citizen. This goal can be accomplished through developmental steps by giving students the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to illustrate their understanding of the following…
Goal 15: Understand economic systems, with an emphasis on the United States.
People’s lives are directly affected by the economies around them. All people engage in economic activity: saving, investing, trading, producing and consuming. By understanding economic systems and learning the economic way of thinking, students will be able to make informed choices and more effectively use resources. Such understanding benefits both individuals and society as a whole…
Goal 16 – Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations. History encompasses the whole of human experience, from the earliest times to the present. As such, it provides perspectives on how the forces of continuity and change have shaped human life, both our own and others’. The study of history involves more than knowing the basic names, dates, and places associated with an event or episode. This knowledge is an essential first step to historical interpretation of the past, but historical study also moves on to a methodology that develops a deeper understanding within an individual…
Goal 17: Understand world geography and the effects of geography on society, with an emphasis on the United States. The study of geography is a lifelong learning process vital to the well being of students, the state of Illinois, the United States, and the world. As an integrative discipline that brings together the physical and human dimensions of the world, geography strives to make sense out of the spatial arrangements of people, places, and environments on Earth. Geography is a field of study that enables us to find answers to questions about the world around us. Geographers ask and attempt to answer questions about where something is located, why it is there, how it got there, how it is connected to other things and places, how it is arranged in relation to other things, and the significance of its location…
Goal 18 – Understand social systems, with an emphasis on the United States. Humans belong to groups from the moment of birth. In order to better understand their roles as individuals and group members of a diverse society, students must know and understand how culture has changed and how it is expressed. Students should also understand how and why groups and institutions are formed. When students understand these concepts, they are better able to contribute to their community and society.
I suppose sociology would fit mostly into Goal 18 though anthropology could also fit here with the emphasis on culture. But it is pretty clear in these goals that politics, economics, history, and geography are emphasized and these disciplines are more clearly described.
Before these goals (pg. 3 of the PDF), there is some clarity about the disciplines involved in the social sciences: “Among the integrated social science disciplines are political science, economics, history, geography, sociology, anthropology, and psychology.” And later in the document (pg. 76), in the glossary specifically for Goal 18, here is the definition of sociology: “Sociology: The scientific and positivistic study of society.”
It would be interesting to know more about how these goals were developed. A later portion of the document doesn’t suggest that the forming of Goal 18 was guided by national or state advisory groups; however, two sociology textbooks that are cited in the bibliography.
In practice, is the term sociology ever used with students in connection with these goals? Do common textbooks ever use the term? Is sociology introduced to students regularly before high school or college? The social science standards for grades 6-12 perhaps allow for a little more room (see page 60 of the PDF).
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