CCSS Governmental Relations Committee - Confab
CCSS Conference 2017
Sacramento, CA
March 4, 2017

Frances (Cricket) Kidwell, CCSS Governmental Relations Committee Chair

Katherine Rand, CCSS Board of Directors Liaison

 I.                   Welcome and Introductions

         CCSS Governmental Relations Committee Chair Cricket (Frances) Kidwell welcomed all committee members and program representatives.  She thanked those who were in attendance at the Legislative Breakfast as well as those who are supporting CCSS but were unable to attend at this time.

II.                 Legislative Updates

      Fred Jones, CCSS Legislative Analyst, provided a synopsis of pending legislation relating to social studies.   He reported that this is the most number of bills he has seen in any legislative session that may pertain to HSS.  Information on all are available online (leginfo) and can be looked up by topic.

            AB 24  calls for the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide special recognition for schools who are doing a good job with civics instruction by offering a state seal on diplomas.  This may include criteria on LCAPs.  This is a positive step and Fred hopes to engage the author to make it a little stronger with very specific criteria.  The language will be very important in order to avoid a version that might become too watered down. 

            Bills that have been introduced to address the topic of fake news and media literacy include AB155 Civic Online Reasoning, SB 135 Media Literacy, and SB 203.

            AB 761 (Mullin) would create state-wide assessments in social studies at three levels, elementary, middle school, and high school.  This would be a huge step forward in promoting high-quality social studies but as it now stands the current version would not include this as part of the statewide accountability calculations.  Presumably, this could be a part of SBAC.  The question of using performance assessment (e.g. debate, mock trial, mock hearings, history day, portfolios) is not yet a part of this conversation and that is not likely as part of the state assessment.  The possibility of local development and adoption of authentic assessment is still a consideration for LCAPs or district programs.  These would be scored on a local level or by a consortia of districts working together to set up criteria and local scoring.  Some districts are already using common DBQ assessments and rubrics.

            LCAPs are still a viable source for requirements in social studies assessments.  The Social Studies Review issue on assessment (Spring 2016) is a more relevant resource than ever in working on a local or county-wide effort.  Janet Mann, CDE, also suggested that either as individuals or an organization we work with CSBA to promote social studies accountability in LCAPs.  The eight state priorities required to be included in the LCAPs are very general but several can relate directly to social studies, ie. student engagement, college readiness, school climate (improved by civic engagement) and, common core implementation.  

            Fred suggested two ways that social studies might be included in the LCAPs. One would be to have state mandate specific themes (e.g. civics, economics, geography) to be included in all LCAPs but he reports that Governor Brown opposes that approach as an infringement on local determinations.  The other strategy would be to lobby each individual district and the CCSS SSR issue on social studies assessment takes this approach, including the assessment tools.  A new template for LCAP date is the CDE dashboard display that provides more specific information is being introduced to districts through webinars. It was also mentioned that the federal ESSA specifically establishes the need for a well-rounded education, i.e. more than just ELA and math, and that Title I monies can be used for History/Social Studies. 

            AB 617 would require that school districts register students to vote on their 18th birthday as part of voter outreach.  Simply registering students to vote does not presume that informed voting or voter education would be a part of the process. 

            Two bills that would require financial literacy instruction are SB 583 (Stone) and AB858.   

            The history-social science textbook adoption will soon be in the final stages as reviewers are now being selected and publishers are in the early stages of submissions.  Some county offices of education have been encouraging textbook publishers to include authentic/performance assessments in their materials. 

            Jose Flores, a member of Instructional Quality Committee, reminded the group that the Environmental Literacy LCAP Toolkit, an on-line blending of science and social studies, is available on the CDE website. 

 III.             CCSS Confab Program Partner Updates

A.       California History-Social Science Project

        Nancy McTygue, Executive Director CHHSP and Co-Chair of the CA HSS Framework Committee, reported on many CA HSS Framework Rollout events around the state with 10 scheduled for 2017 and more to come in 2018 through a History Project and CCSESA partnership.  Additional resources will be available to help teachers in the implementation and strengthening of HSS instruction. 

         The CHSSP is working on a re-alignment of resources from the Source, the project blueprints, and other materials, that will be based on inquiry questions and lesson plans by grade levels.  The resources will be organized into more “bite size” sets to make them more useful for teachers.  These will be developed in a searchable database by this summer.  A new writing in history program with a new website is also under development.   The environmental literacy webinar series with free videos are posted on-line and available by grade level. 

B.      Reagan Presidential Library

            Anthony Pennay, Chief Learning Officer of the Reagan Presidential Library, has been working on primary source materials for teachers and a summer leadership series for students.  The program works with districts and the Civic Action Project for the Student Leader award program that distributes one million dollars in scholarships to students each year.  They are also working on developing a National Education Forum with a goal of bringing together organizations and House and Senate Education committees in a collaborative, non-partisan effort in spring of 2018.  On-line information is available.  

C.      Center for Civic Education

            Maria Gallo reported on free downloadable materials from the Center for Civic Education including resources for Constitution Day, the  We the People  Program, and Project Citizen.  The national invitational for middle school level We the People and the Project Citizen August National Showcase are in progress.  The three-year James Madison Legacy Project provides teachers with scholarly-led professional develop and also provides videos for teachers who are unable to attend the face-to-face program at Georgetown University.

D.     Constitutional Rights Foundation

Damon Huss reported on two grant projects.  The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding an initiative on the teaching of how to infuse and develop civil conversation, moving discussion in the classroom away from debate to deliberative conversation.  This will focus on the civic mission of schools work and include role plays and simulation.  They hope to work with 15,000 teacher leaders.  CRF is also partnering with the BERA Foundation to infuse civics into the classroom across disciplines

The state level finals of the Mock Trial competition will take place in Riverside on March 24th.  The CRF Civic Action Project, a public policy-based service learning for students is being revised for the middle school level.  Civics On Call provides lessons on important issues of the day.  All programs and CRF materials are regularly revised and updated. 

E.                  The California 3Rs Project

The California 3Rs annual meeting will be held on Monday, March 6.  Damon Huss reported that the project is focusing on critical current issues such as religious literacy and First Amendment components.  The planning and advisory committee is a network of county administrators and academic scholars as well as representatives from non-profit organizations.   The meeting will work on plans for the coming year and the bulletins.  The latest issue of the 3Rs Bulletin addresses mindfulness with an academic point-counter-point on mindfulness and religious practice.  Damon offered assistance with questions on education regarding the FAIR act. 

F.                   California Council for Economic Education (CCEE)

Jim Charkins reported on teacher professional development in economics education that is taking place at various sites in California.  The council also sponsors student economic contests throughout the state. The CCEE is undertaking the writing of a new economics course intended to help prepare kids for this economy through economic reasoning and inquiry–based civic discussion as outlined in both the national C3 Framework and the new California Framework for History-Social Science.  An example of this type of instructional strategy is a lesson entitled “Can the Rust Belt survive?”  This would be a 12th grade economics course.  When it becomes available, educators will be able to access it on the CCEE website.

G.                  County Offices of Education

Michelle Herczog reported on the numerous roll-outs of the new History-Social Science framework that will be sponsored by County Offices of Education.  The Los Angeles COE sponsored the March 2 Roll-Out that was held in conjunction with the CCSS Conference and reported on a very large number of teachers (approximately 270) that participated.  The Constitutional Rights Foundation is a major contributor to a civics compendium that is in the process of development as well as resources in HSS literacy, inquiry in HSS, and citizenship materials. 

            A Civic Learning Institute has been developed by LAUSD in collaboration with the Orange County Office of Education for professional development.  In addition, the county office network is currently working on the development and collection of resources to help with LCAPs and LCAP implementation.  The California Democracy School Initiative is a three-year initiative that supports school level plans that include civics.  On May 13, the Richard Nixon Library will showcase Kenneth Morris.  A series of webcasts on the C3 Framework will be posted to   

Yvonne Contreras, administrator at LACOE, has been appointed to serve as chair of the CISC History-Social Science sub-committee. 

H.                  California Geographic Alliance

            Tom Herman reported that the California Geographic Alliance has launched an educator certification program and at this point, 20 teachers have been certified.  The first component can be completed on-line on the National Geographic Foundation website or through

            Grants are being awarded to classroom teachers for first time for up to a possible $30,000.  California has been designated as a showcase state for National Geographic and this may help to bring greater capacity and attention to the organization.  The alliance is part of the National Geographic effort that has sponsored speakers at NCSS and CCSS.  

 IV.              Issues and Ideas – Open Discussion and Sharing of Ideas/Suggestions/Issues

  •  Increase connections between CCSS and CCSESA with perhaps a liaison between CCSS and county offices.
  • Make sure that there is increased and open two-way pipeline of communication and involvement between CCSS and partner groups and agencies, more often than once per year.
  • Work with a bottom-up strategy (e.g. parent groups, local districts) to influence LCAPs to include HSS as that may be one of the greatest leverage points for getting HSS into the LCAPs and into an accountability system.
  • Use the adoption process and parent groups to advocate for Social Studies.
  • Reach out to parents to help them understand what good Social Studies/History/Civics/Economics instruction looks like. 
  • Resurrect the former CCSS tri-fold brochures (four versions) on high-quality HSS for parents/teachers/administrators/policy-makers.  What happened to these?  Can we get these again and use them?  Cricket Kidwell may have some available for CCSS to review and perhaps revitalize. 
  • The CCSS website is in desperate need of reorganization and posting of user-friendly information such as listing board meetings, teacher resources, CCSS committees, publications, legislation, and HSS news items.  In order to serve our CCSS membership effectively, the website needs to be easily accessible and user-friendly in finding the appropriate pages and postings.  
  • CCSS needs to reclaim the designation as an umbrella organization for ALL social studies disciplines.
  • We need to use the recently revised CCSS position statements (standards, assessment, workforce preparation, civic education, instruction, curriculum, etc.) as promotion, advocacy, and messaging. 
  • We need to have a place on social media as a stand-alone.
  • A place is needed on the CCSS Board of Directors agenda for public comments and discussion.
  • Exofficio members should be a part of the CCSS board meetings and designees from all partner organizations should also be invited to participate. 
  • Local councils could play a larger role in providing teachers with background information and professional development on courses they’ve never taught before.
  • Find a way to reinstitute the practice of inviting school administrators and auxiliary groups.  Many years ago, administrators were invited and included in the CCSS conference with a free breakfast and introduction session.  We need to cultivate a broad base of supporters. 

 V.                 Closure

            Thank you to all our partner agencies and organizations for your collaboration, support, and coordinated advocacy for high-quality social studies at all grade levels and in all schools and programs.  Thank you! 

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