Problem with social studies? Maybe it’s elementary

As some juniors prepared to take the new civics literacy exam, history teacher Sean Regan suggested that a change in elementary school curriculum could benefit students later on

“They would benefit from doing [social studies] a little more,” Regan said, ”I know that, from knowing my kids and students, when they go through elementary school, social studies is the first subject to get cut out. When the teachers need to cut time, they prioritize math, reading and science, which is important.”

Seventh-grader Leah P. agrees that students lack a  solid social studies background when they arrive on campus, adding that her teachers did not cover enough information in elementary school for students to remember much of the material. 

“If we had a reason, we would read a news article, but they never helped us with anything,” Leah said. 

History teacher Geoffery Bramlett said he’s noticed a specific issue within elementary social studies. 

“The content is something that you can teach them, but a lot of times [students] come in without the map skills, analyzing historical documents, and so forth,” Bramlett said, “It’d be really kind of cool if elementary schools would just focus on that. They don’t have that much time devoted to [social studies] anyway, so focus on the skills and then when they get to junior high, they can use the skills to learn the content.”

Social studies being pushed to the side to make way for other subjects isn’t something new, according to Bramlett. 

“It’s gotten a little worse,” he said, “As long as I’ve been teaching for 20 plus years, it’s always been that way. I used to teach sixth grade and they were coming out of elementary school and it was the same issues with them.”

By Amelia Bailly