Constructivism and the New Social Studies: A Collection of Classic Inquiry Lessons (Charlotte, NC: Information Age, 2018)

Geoffrey Scheurman and Ronald Evans, Editors

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The New Social Studies refers to a flurry of academic and commercial activity during the 1960s and 1970s that resulted in the mass development and dissemination of revolutionary classroom materials and teacher resources. In science as well as social studies, a spirit of “inquiry-based teaching” filled the air during this time, resulting in the development of curricula that were both pedagogically innovative and intellectually rigorous. Constructivism and the New Social Studies contains a collection of classic lessons from some of the most successful projects of the era, providing a resource of exceptional ideas and materials that have stood the test of time.

These revealing artifacts are presented with commentaries from some of the original directors of major projects, including Edwin Fenton, Barry Beyer, and Suzanne Helburn. In addition to American and World History, groundbreaking lessons are represented in Economics, Government, Sociology, and Geography, including the Public Issues Series (Fred Newmann), The Amherst History Project (Richard Brown and Geoffrey Scheurman) and Teaching American History: The Quest for Relevancy (Allan Kownslar, Gerald Ponder, and Geneva Gay), and Man: A Course of Study (Peter Dow). With a Foreword by Jerome Bruner, the volume not only provides a resource of exceptional curriculum ideas and actual materials, it also builds a lucid bridge between the theoretical ideas of constructivism and the pedagogical principles of inquiry learning.

Schooling Corporate Citizens: How Accountability Reform has Damaged Civic Education and Undermined Democracy (New York: Routledge, 2015)

51CT-XXOQiLSchooling Corporate Citizens examines the full history of accountability reform in the United States from its origins in the 1970s and 1980s to the development of the Common Core in recent years. Based in extensive archival research, it traces the origins and development of accountability reform as marked by key government- and business-led reports—from A Nation at Risk to No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. By using the lens of social studies and civic education as a means to understand the concrete impacts of accountability reforms on schools, Evans shows how reformers have applied principles of business management to schools in extreme ways, damaging civic education and undermining democratic learning.

The first full-length narrative account of accountability reform and its impact on social studies and civic education, Schooling Corporate Citizens offers crucial insights to the ongoing process of American school reform, shedding light on its dilemmas and possibilities, and allowing for thoughtful consideration of future reform efforts.

“The current focus on competition, accountability, and the corporate approach to schooling has roots that stretch back decades. Evans skillfully traces how the influence of individuals, interest groups, corporations, and neo-conservative ideologues has distorted the way we talk about the purposes of education in a democracy. With this meticulously-researched book, Evans brings his multi-volume history of social studies up to the present with balance and detail, while never betraying his deep commitment to meaningful, progressive-oriented civic education.”
– Thomas Fallace, Associate Professor, College of Education, William Paterson University of New Jersey

“Ron Evans makes yet another contribution to his outstanding oeuvre on the history of social studies education with Schooling Corporate Citizens. Drawing on a range of primary sources, this book demonstrates the anti-progressive, anti-democratic, and anti-community consequences of business-minded accountability reform, particularly for citizenship education and education for democracy. This compelling, thoroughly-researched account inspires readers to reverse the damage caused by accountability reform in order to help revive social studies education that is inquiry-oriented, child-centered, issues-centered, and democratic.”
– Anne-Lise Halvorsen, Associate Professor, College of Education, Michigan State University