Washington, D.C.—The current social studies standards in the District were last revised in 2006. The revision process, which began in April 2020, presented an opportunity for the District’s social studies standards to be culturally responsive and anti-racist, impart important social studies content in the early grades, strengthen student knowledge of democratic principles and values, and promote civic engagement.
The D.C. State Board of Education convened the Social Studies Standards Advisory Committee (SSSAC) to review and provide insights on revising the District’s statewide social studies standards. This committee met between July 2020 to December 2020, drafting guiding principles and making recommendations to the State Board and the Office of the State Superintendent for Education’s (OSSE) Technical Writing Committee on how the state standards should be revised and updated to reflect the needs of students and teachers in the District.
Major changes in the draft include:
- The addition of “anchor standards” that cut through all grade levels
- The creation of anchor standard “inquiry arcs” which support students’ understanding of critical thinking, research, democratic citizenship, and identity
- The inclusion of digital and media literacy skills in each grade
- A reorganization of how standards are named and grouped
- An increase in standards around D.C. history and government throughout the K-12 standards
- A focus on larger concepts and key themes, which enable educators to select the content that best supports their students in exploring driving concepts; promote an in-depth understanding of complex ideas, concepts, and skills; and incorporate multiple historical perspectives and a global understanding of history.
Specific shifts in course include:
- Prekindergarten is no longer included in the social studies standards
- Grade 2: From Living, Learning, and Working Now and Long Ago to Ancient Civilizations
- Grade 4: From US History and Geography: Making a New Nation to American Foundations – First Nations through the Founding of the United States
- Grade 5: From US History and Geography: Westward Expansion to the Present to Foundations of Modern Americ
- Grade 6: From World Geography and Cultures to World Geography
- Grade 7: From World History and Geography: Ancient World to US History I: First Nations – Reconstruction
- Grade 8: From US History and Geography I: Growth and Conflict to Action Civics
"I am pleased and encouraged by the dedicated work and progress that the State Board and OSSE has put forth to move closer to revising the social studies standards. It is my hope that the public will take time to review the standards and offer feedback within the allotted comment period so that together, we can offer D.C. students updated and developmentally appropriate standards in their education,” President of the State Board, Jessica Sutter says.
OSSE is seeking input from the public on the proposed changes. This is an opportunity for the public to engage with the standards revision process. Please complete this form to assist OSSE in this process. The 45-day public comment period is open through 5 p.m. ET on Monday, January 30, 2023.
The State Board is also inviting a panel of social studies experts to its December 21 Public Meeting to offer insights on the draft standards. We encourage the public to offer comments and suggestions about the revision by signing up to testify in person or by submitting written testimony by Monday, December 19 at 5 p.m., to be included.