The Kansas State Board of Education is preparing to adopt new standards for history, government and social studies classes at the same time state lawmakers are considering a bill that would mandate the teaching of certain content.
The state board will discuss the latest draft of the proposed new standards when it meets at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Department of Education building in Topeka.
The proposed new standards have been in development for more than a year by a committee that includes teachers, academics, Department of Education officials and community members. The standards are meant to define what Kansas students should know and be able to do at various grade levels in the subjects of history, civics and government, geography and economics.
Agency officials say the new social studies standards also reflect the new Common Core State Standards for reading and math, and they are intended to help students apply what they learn in class to real-life situations.
"We must go beyond simple recitation of foundational information and instead encourage the application of that information in authentic and realistic situations," agency officials said in a memo to the state board.
That discussion comes at the same time Kansas lawmakers are considering one bill that would block implementation of the Common Core standards and another to mandate the teaching of specific content about American history.
House Bill 2289, which would prohibit the state agency or any local school district from spending public funds to implement the Common Core standards is pending in the House Education Committee.
House Bill 2280 passed the House March 1 and is now pending in the Senate Education Committee. It would designate the week that includes Sept. 17 — the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 — as "Celebrate Freedom Week," during which schools would be required to teach about the founding of the country.
In other business, the state board will:
• Consider modifying the state reading and math assessments for the 2013-14 school year as the state shifts to new tests the following year that will be aligned with the Common Core standards.
• Recognize the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools.
• And receive an update on the Next Generation Science Standards.
The board meeting will continue Wednesday with visits to the Kansas State School for the Deaf in Olathe and the School for the Blind in Kansas City, Kan.