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State Adopts New Social Studies Standards

State education officials approved new social studies expectations for Indiana schools Wednesday. The standards are very similar to ones the state has been using since 2007.

State Board member Cari Whicker wanted to know what the proposed changes would mean in her sixth grade history class.

“So I took the 2007 standards and the new standards, and I took my green highlighter, and highlighted everything that was word-for-word exactly the same,” Whicker said. “And then I went back through and any words I hadn’t highlighted I highlighted in orange so they would stand out. Those were the words that were not exactly the same.”

The new social studies expectations are substantially the same as the top-ranked 2007 standards, and Whicker only found about 20 changes for sixth grade.

But another State Board member and history teacher, Andrea Neal, says the new standards lack many of the examples that made Indiana’s prior social studies standards good.

“In history, content is the standard. Teaching the Monroe Doctrine is not optional for an eighth grade U.S. history teacher,” Neal said. “It is not micro-managing curriculum to put the Monroe Doctrine in the standards.”

Most of the examples in the old standards will move into a separate resource guide for teachers.