MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

April 27, 2014

Keep social studies tests

Eliminating social studies from state tests for fifth, seventh and eighth grades would be a mistake if proposed legislation is passed into law.

Under the bill, the State Department of Education would not be allowed to administer a test not required by federal law.

That would include history tests in fifth and eighth grades and geography tests in seventh grade.

History and social studies are important foundations for a strong, informed electorate.

The subjects teach us where we began as a nation, where we’ve grown and provides a path for future generations to expand our country’s success.

Knowing our past — warts and all — allows us to be better citizens. It shows us where we succeeded and where we failed.

It gives us a blueprint to build greater success.

Many educators feel they no longer have control of their classrooms. They say they teach to tests — concentrating on material that appears on standardized tests.

That’s because educators and school districts are being judged by the grades their students receive on these kinds of tests.

Eliminating some the testing that is not required by federal law, in theory, would allow teachers to focus on material on the remaining tests.

That sounds good in principal. Eliminate the unnecessary and you are left with strong priorities.

By focusing on the federal tests, teachers will not spend as much time on subjects such as social studies and history.

That’s the problem.

It sounds good to give teachers more time to teach to the tests that assess the success of educators and schools districts.

But what do we lose in the process?

We lose our history.

That’s too much.

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