C3 Framework Holds Great Promise and Potential

At the recent St. Louis NCSS National Conference, the major initiative of the conference was the unveiling of and enthusiasm for the new

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards: State Guidance for Enhancing the Rigor of K-12 Civics, Economics, Geography, and History

This initiative is the result of exhaustive work by many at the state levels, NCSS and beyond, and it is intended to serve as an avenue to promote Social Studies education in all states and school systems nationwide. There are strands within the C3 Framework for Civics, Economics, Geography, and History (as well as the Social Sciences: Sociology, Psychology, et al). It would be in our best interests to become familiar with the C3 Framework and promote it in a positive and and constructive manner. Full copies of the C3 Framework are available at the NCSS website ( ) along with a 2 page “brief ” of the framework. The framework is a genuine step in the right direction for Social Studies education and one we need to publicize throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Here is a copy of a letter I am sending and I would encourage EVERYONE to send your own personalized version of this letter to every administrator, school committee member, and state official that should truly have a concern for and an awareness of Social Studies education.

Dear Comm. Chester,


Few are adequately aware of new C3 Framework for SS Education. Even fewer are aware of the weakening of SS education over the past decade-plus. I have included here a simple flyer that gives a brief but appropriate overview of the C3 Standard and a request. I ask simply that you read it, discuss its value with the DESE Board, and simply pass on to each local school system the importance of looking at this standard.


I realize this state, along with many others, has chosen to give a higher priority to ELA and Math, and in some cases Science, and I understand the rationale behind such decisions. I also hope that the DESE realizes the impact of this decision on the Social Studies, as this has had as great an impact on this discipline as on those mentioned above but in a very different way. As the philosophy of the state of Massachusetts is to place all curriculum decisions at the local level, I would hope that you & the DESE Board would realize the importance, the validity, and the true worth of endorsing this curriculum standard and encouraging all local systems to draw upon the standard to reinforce and  reinvigorate Social Studies education in each and every system in the Commonwealth. The recent PISA test scores for Massachusetts are to be applauded, but still we can not do so without noting that there is no mention of the Social Studies and/or civic education in the tests or the report about the tests.


With the current status of Social Studies/Civics education in this state and across the nation, with the contemporary animus we witness in our national government day after day, and with the National Council for Social Studies 2014 National Conference being held in Boston in November 2014 with the theme of “Let Freedom Ring: the Civic Mission of Our Schools”, it would seem that this is the best time, the right time to vocalize a need for greater attention to Social Studies education. While the PISA tested areas remain high on the priority list – and we are all cognizant of why that may be necessary – please do not allow Social Studies education to be diminished. The new C3 Framework works hand-in-hand with the Common Core Frameworks and reinforces all learning for College, Career, and Civic Life! Preparation for College, Careers, and Civic Life – that is the mission all our schools can agree on as a goal and outcome for one and all.



Norm Shacochis

Immediate Past President, MCSS


cc: MCSS website

Senator Richard Moore, Massachusetts General Court

Senator Sondra Chang-Diaz, Massachusetts General Court

Matthew Malone, Massachusetts Sec. of Education

Tom Scott, Exec. Director, Massachusetts School Superintendents

Glenn Koocher, Exec. Director, Massachusetts School Committees



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