The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Review of the 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
June 15, 2018

At the meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on June 26, 2018, I will ask the Board to vote to adopt the learning standards in the 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework. The learning standards outline the expectations for what students should know and be able to do. The framework also includes other material such as the vision, guiding principles, history and social science practices, and other features designed to support effective instruction. The anticipated vote follows discussion at the May 22, 2018 Board meeting of the revisions the Department made to address suggestions submitted during the public comment period earlier this year. The updated framework, now presented to the Board for formal adoption, also includes revisions made to address comments made by the Board at and since the May 22 meeting.

Previous discussion on this topic included the Board meeting of November 28, 2017, when the Department presented an abbreviated draft of the revised framework for the Board's review. At the January 23, 2018 meeting, the Department provided an overview of the full draft of the revised framework and the Board voted to invite public comment on it.

Enclosed with this memorandum are:

Download PowerPoint File
Review of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework Presentation

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The 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

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The Resources for History and Social Science, a supplement to the framework with resources to support instruction

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Highlights of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework, an overview of the 2018 framework that includes the main changes made to address recommendations from the Board since May 22 and suggestions gained during the public comment period, as well as a comparison of the scope and sequence in the 2003 and 2018 frameworks

Public Comment Report, a report on the main themes from the public comment period and copies of comments submitted.
The following document are public records and are available upon request.*

Content Advisor Comments, comments submitted by the Content Advisors that the Department engaged to review the accuracy of the content and ensure that it reflects the latest scholarship.
The following document are public records and are available upon request.*

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Redline Comparison January-June 2018, a version of the framework that tracks the changes made, comparing the January Public Comment Draft to the current June version of the framework

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Framework Review Process and Priorities

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Plan and Timeline for Review of 2003 MA History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

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List of Content Advisors

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List of Panel Review Members

Motion for Board vote on adoption of the 2018 History and Social Science learning standards

Revisions made since the May 22, 2018 Board meeting

Based on the comments provided by the Board, the Department has made the following revisions to the framework:

May–June 2018
Revisions made to address comments by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (This summary also is included in the Highlights document with this Memorandum)
  1. US History II, Standard 37 (p. 112)
    • May 15 Draft Framework: Analyze the significance of the election of Barack Obama as the nation's first African-American president of the United States and its impact on race relations.
    • June 14/Change: Given the discussion of including a broader standard on race relations in US History II at the May 22 Board meeting, this standard now includes new language, as follows: Research and analyze issues related to race relations in the United States since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, including: the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and its impact on neighborhood integration; policies, court cases, and practices regarding affirmative action and their impact on diversity in the workforce and higher education; disparities and trends in educational achievement and attainment, health outcomes, wealth and income, and rates of incarceration; the election of the nation's first African-American president, Barack Obama, in 2008 and 2012.
    • Rationale: Board members James Morton and Amanda Fernandez suggested broadening the draft standard along the lines proposed by Chris Martell, one of the speakers during the public comment at the May 22 Board meeting. The revised standard increases the level of academic challenge from the previous version and strikes a balance between the proposed more detailed language and the more narrowly defined standard in the May 15 draft.
  2. Acknowledgements: Addressing a request from Hannah Trimarchi, the Acknowledgements section now includes the names of the members of the Massachusetts State Student Advisory Council Civic Education and Engagement Workgroup who provided comments during the public comment period.
  3. Grade 8 Civics, Standard 36b (p. 87)
    • To address the suggestion from Amanda Fernandez at the May 22 Board meeting, standard 36b, on the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Supreme Court decision, now includes a footnote referring to the Mendez v. Westminster School District of Orange County, California case of 1946. The case set an important precedent and included an approach to litigation later adapted for use in the Brown case.
Other Revisions
  1. US History II, Standard 36 (p. 112)
    • May 15 Draft Framework: Standard 36. Using primary and secondary sources, analyze the causes and course of one of the following social and political movements, including consideration of the role of protest, advocacy organizations, and active citizen participation. (followed by topics a-e, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, disability rights, the environmental movement, the migrant farmworkers' movement)
    • June 14 addition: To address concern about limited content related to Native American history at the high school grades, the standard now includes an additional substandard "f" on important events in recent modern history on this topic:
      f. the movement to protect the rights, self-determination, and sovereignty of Native Peoples (e.g., the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, the American Indian Movement, the Wounded Knee incident at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1973, the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, and the efforts of Native Peoples' groups to preserve Native cultures, gain federal or state recognition and raise awareness of Native American history)
    • Footnote: In Massachusetts these groups include the Mashpee Wampanoag, Aquinnah Wampanoag, Massachusett, Nipmuc, and the Muhheconneuk Intertribal group. For information on Native Peoples, see the section on Native Peoples of the Americas in the Resource Supplement to this Framework.
    • Rationale: Recent comments received by the Department and the Board highlight the need to make some improvements to the content on Native American history in the high school grades. The May 15 draft included significant additions to the content from the 2003 standards in the elementary and middle grades, but few additions to the content in the high school grades on Native Americans after the 1920s. The latest mention was the primary source of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. The addition to the existing standard will achieve these goals:
      1. Students will understand that the quest for civil rights has extended to Native Americans as well as the other groups already noted in the standards
      2. Students will be aware of local tribal names in the high school grades, building on the content in the lower grades
  2. Added primary sources and resources, including websites, historic sites and organizations, to the appendices and Resources supplement

Implementation Support

Upon adoption of the 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Framework, the Department will begin a multi-step process of supporting districts with implementation. In addition to posting the complete Framework and Supplement, the Department will post summary comparisons of the 2003 and the 2018 standards organized by grade or course. This document will support educators in making the transition to the new standards.

In July 2018, the Department will host a three-day Civics Education Institute in partnership with the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES), which is planning content for the event in partnership with the Massachusetts Center for Civics Education and Generation Citizen. The Civics Education Institute will provide an introduction and overview of the new framework, support the implementation of the new 8th grade civics course, and support implementation of the Standards for History and Social Science Practice and the Literacy Standards for History and Social Science. In fall 2018, CES will continue working with the Department to host two regional networks to provide in-person support for district teams, support districts in analyzing the new standards, and foster high quality curriculum development and instruction. In spring 2019, the Department will host two additional networks with the same goals.

In addition to the Civics Education Institute and the networks, the Department and CES will host four webinars that will support educators in implementing specific aspects of the framework. The Department also plans to develop Quick Reference Guides and Vertical Progression documents to highlight changes in the framework, provide targeted guidance to the field, and map the development of topics across grade levels.

Thank You to Our Partners

At the Board meeting on June 26, 2018, Senior Associate Commissioner Heather Peske and other members of the staff will present a summary of the latest revisions and plans for implementation and respond to your questions.

The Department thanks the members of the History and Social Science Review Panel, the Content Advisors, and educators and members of the public for their participation and many contributions to the revision of the framework. Their recommendations have ensured that the 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework reflects advancements in teaching and learning and academic research in these disciplines and that it provides effective preparation for civic life for all students in the Commonwealth.