The sweep of the standards movement has changed instruction across all disciplines, but perhaps nowhere have the effects been felt more strongly than in the field of social studies. Driven by the need to raise students' reading and math scores, many schools have curtailed their social studies curricula to devote more time to test preparation. In such an environment, how can social studies subjects such as history, geography, and economics continue to thrive?
Social studies teachers have disproportionately felt the brunt of the standards movement, according to experts. "I call it the 'crowding out' phenomenon," says Diane Hart, an educational consultant in Menlo Park, Calif. "In the effort to improve literacy and numerical ability among students, teachers have been asked to spend more time focusing on those areas, and the time left for social studies is being squeezed."