Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

Sub-Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the 2005 and 2011 South Carolina Social Studies Academic Curriculum Standards for the 11th grade course, United States History and Constitution. A survey was administered to 21 writers of the South Carolina standards. It was designed to gather data on respondents' perceptions of Western historicism embedded within the State standards and state-adopted instructional materials as well as the respondents' view of political correctness within social studies. The author conducted a critical analysis (Apple, 1991, 1993; Apple & Christian-Smith, 1991; Giroux, 1995; Kincheloe, 2006) of the South Carolina social studies of 2005 and 2001, of the survey responses from the standards' authors, and of related state-mandated materials (e.g., textbooks, support documents, and pacing guides). This analysis demonstrated that the standards still rest upon gendered and racialized underpinnings. In addition, with respect to class or socio-economic states, the standards reinforce the status quo. The analysis reveals the `political correctness'--what Apple calls the "official knowledge"--of State mandated social studies curricular materials and pedagogical practices. The author of this present study contends that `political correctness' or the idea that standards are culturally neutral, reflects an increased concern on the part of both the political Right and the political Left not offending anyone or expressing any perspectives regarding various groups of people. By not enabling social studies teachers to delve into the political, economic, social, and historical controversies that shape our nation's consciousness, the status quo of white, male, heterosexual, middle-class hegemony is perpetuated.

The present study also reveals the beliefs of the citizens responsible for writing them and adopting them. Findings suggest instances of both liberal and conservative political perspectives. Findings further support the need for educators and supervisors of social studies curriculum to acknowledge the existence of such perspectives especially in light of the South Carolina's increasingly diverse population.

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