The Path to Protecting Humanities and Social Sciences

A new report recommends that the nation take 12 key steps to ensure that humanities and social sciences maintain an important place in American classrooms.

“The Heart of the Matter,” issued today by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, grew from a congressional request for guidance on how to protect the central role of those disciplines during an era that has ramped up the focus on the state-tested subjects of English/language arts and math, and on the hard sciences.

In 2011, the Cambridge, Mass.-based academy announced the creation of a commission to make recommendations in answer to that question. In its final report, it outlines 12 steps its members consider crucial to preserving a central role for the study of social sciences and humanities.

It groups three under the banner of “educating Americans in the knowledge, skills, and understanding they will need to thrive in a 21st-century democracy:”

• Supporting full literacy as a foundation for all learning, not just in school, but over a lifetime.
• Investing in the preparation of citizens in a democracy, by ensuring a “thorough grounding” in history, civics, and social studies.
• Increasing access to online resources, so all students—especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds—can use quality materials.

Five steps are aimed at “fostering a society that is innovative, competitive, and strong”: <Read the rest of the article.>

Via Catherine Gewertz, Education Week.

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