October 22, 2021
NCSS SmartBrief
Social Studies – Preparing Students for College, Career and Civic LifeSIGN UP ⋅   SHARE
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Teaching & Learning
Nonpartisan nonprofit promotes civics in Wash. state
The Washington State Capitol in Olympia, as seen from a drone. (David Ryder/Getty Images)
"Teach with TVW" offers two civics education programs for students and teachers: Capitol Classroom, in which students can engage in the state legislative process, and Connects, a Zoom-based program that brings together students with leaders in state government and media. Recent focus on civic education and exploring opposing views has left the nonpartisan nonprofit TVW in position as a resource about how state government works because that's "a huge pillar of what we stand for," said Brett Hansen, TVW's education director.
Full Story: ThurstonTalk (Olympia, Wash.) (10/20) 
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Exploring identity is the first of four themed units on independent reading in this year's eighth-grade English class, writes teacher Kasey Short. In this article, Short describes the unit, with a list of 20 books -- including titles by writers Jules Machias and Kwame Alexander -- and shares about how students reflect on self-image and their personal experiences.
Full Story: Edutopia (10/18) 
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Corey Byrd, an 18-year-old who was in virtual learning for 535 days, has returned to high school to complete the last credits needed to graduate in the spring. This article examines the struggles being experienced by Byrd, who is among many students across the US who are considered at higher risk of dropping out because of various factors, including difficulty with virtual learning and unstable family situations.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (10/18) 
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Go Beyond Traditional African American Studies
Social Studies Supervisor Erin Conklin is taking curricula to a new level in Duval County (FL). By utilizing customized, unique content (with help from XanEdu), her new African American Studies readers are increasing student engagement and teaching state and local history from new perspectives. Learn more.
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Policy Watch
Funding for schools -- often based on taxes -- can have wide variations even among nearby districts, such as in New Jersey where one district spends $14,000 more per student than a neighboring district, according to a report by Bellwether Education. The report also found that factors including segregation, district boundaries, school-funding formulas and the uneven distribution of affordable housing produce what the authors call "educational gerrymandering."
Full Story: Education Week (10/18) 
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Technology in the Classroom
Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering making it mandatory that schools -- including districts, charter schools, intermediate units and career and technical centers -- post course information online, including curricula, standards, textbooks and syllabi. The bill passed the House last week and was approved by a Senate Education panel this week.
Full Story: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (tiered subscription model) (10/18) 
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    Social Studies & Civic Life
    1920s novel about race becomes black-and-white film
    Actor Ruth Negga attends the premiere of "Passing," a film in which she stars. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
    Actor, director and producer Rebecca Hall says she read "Passing" by Nella Larsen more than a decade ago and felt an immediate connection to its themes of racism, colorism and privilege because of experiences within her own family. Hall wrote a screenplay and directed a new movie -- that she insisted on filming in black and white -- version of the novel about two friends and the ambiguity of race.
    Full Story: The New York Times (10/20) 
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    NCSS Updates
    "Pandemic 101: A Roadmap to Help Students Grasp an Economic Shock"
    From the March/April 2021 Social Education, this article provides a close look at visual data on GDP, unemployment, interest rates and inflation during the COVID-19 pandemic will provide students with important insights into the economic effects of the health crisis and monetary and fiscal policy responses. Read more.
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    Volunteer opportunities
    NCSS has opportunities for member volunteers to get more involved with their professional organization. Read on for more information and to apply.
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