Senate Bill focuses on historical texts in education
The South-Western City School District will have to revise its social studies curriculum now that an Ohio Senate bill has been approved.
Senate Bill 165 requires the State Board of Education to incorporate original texts of the Declaration of Independence and its amendments, Northwest Ordinance, U.S. Constitution and Ohio Constitution into state social studies standards by July 1.
At least 20 percent of the end-of-course examination in American government would cover the historical documents. Standardized tests would include the new material by July 1, 2014. School districts would have to adopt an interim form of assessment by July 1, 2013.
The bill has passed the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate and now awaits Gov. John Kasich’s signature.
SWCS’ current curriculum does focus on historical documents, assistant superintendent of curriculum John Kellogg said. Existing textbooks could have excerpts of these documents, but not the documents in their entirety.
“That’s the difference,” he said.
While the practice isn’t yet mandated, many educators probably already include some form of original historical text in their curriculums, Kellogg said. The process allows students to exercise analytical skills in comparing and contrasting historical times with present day.
“I think the idea of a social studies curriculum using the original text to build learning activities makes sense,” Kellogg said.
Kellogg said he doesn’t know if the ODE or the districts would cover the cost of supplying the historical documents.
“The legislation does not address how schools or students will access these documents, and this was never discussed during the committee deliberations in either chamber. It may be that the thought here is that these documents are easily accessible for districts either online or in textbooks,” ODE legislative liaison Jen Hogue said.