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Teaching civics and U.S. history are increasingly difficult tasks. Civics, like our communities, continues to change, grow, and evolve. We are looking for teachers who want to expand the impact they have beyond their own classroom and be part of the national dialogue about the future of civics and history in our country. We want these teachers to apply for our Teacher Council and we still need applications from your state to ensure our Council has a diverse and national perspective.
The Council meets monthly and advises the Institute on strategic initiatives by providing feedback on classroom resources and best practices in student learning as well as regional civics initiatives. They assist the Institute with monthly projects including–but not limited to–writing projects, editing projects, and resource renewal projects.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long is the time commitment? August 1, 2021-July 31, 2022
What is the compensation? $150/month
What are the requirements to serve on the Council? At least 1 year of classroom experience and a current position in a 7-12 grade social studies classroom.
What is required for the application? A profile questionnaire, a letter of recommendation, and a writing sample.
I hope to receive your application!
Senior Manager, Teacher Services
Bill of Rights Institute
Yesterday TCSS issued the press release below. Legislators want to hear from the teachers. HB3979 is up for a vote on May 4th. If passed it will likely become law - prohibiting teachers from discussions about current events or controversial topics and ending any privately funded professional development in social studies. Please take a few minutes to call your state representative.
Find your representative here.
For immediate release: April 30, 2021
Renee Blackmon, President
Civic Education? Not even close.
As an advocate for quality civics education, the Texas Council for the Social Studies implores Texas lawmakers to resist the overreach of state power proposed in SB2202 and HB3979. These bills conflict with current social studies state standards, disregard research-based best practices, ignore the testimony of Texas teachers, and fail to achieve Governor Abbott’s charge to advance quality civics education.
Several provisions of SB2202/HB3979 are unworkable, unrealistic, and unnecessarily punitive. First, these bills aim to exercise state power over classroom instruction by regulating and limiting the discussion of current events and controversial topics despite it being in stark opposition to the Texas social studies standards. Teachers are expected to prepare students to be informed citizens by learning skills for evaluating information as independent, critical thinkers. In order to do this, students must learn to grapple with the controversy of current events and the complexity of the past. Additionally, regardless of the deleterious impact these bills have on students as citizens, how will these restrictions on local control be enforced? Will social studies classrooms be policed? Will discussions of current events and controversial topics continue unmonitored in other subject areas?
Second, while this legislation purports to address civic education, it prohibits schools from encouraging students to participate in the democratic process. If enacted, SB2202/HB3979 would outlaw student involvement in community projects. Past examples such as students working with the local government to erect a stop sign at a dangerous intersection or students partnering with legislators to proclaim pecan pie the state pie of Texas would no longer be possible. While science classes have labs for students to practice, the student laboratory of democratic practice takes place outside of the classroom in partnership with teachers that model the values of the local community.
Third, this legislation serves to further marginalize social studies education with a prohibition on privately-funded professional development opportunities and resources for teachers in social studies. Our communities spend millions of dollars to equip classroom science laboratories to empower future scientists. Our schools accept millions of dollars in partnerships with big businesses to create STEM-schools. However the state has yet to match this investment towards preparing our students to be good citizens. The state has shown little commitment to providing professional development opportunities to social studies teachers, funding social studies classroom resources, or embracing any comprehensive policies to improve social studies education.
It is time for Texas legislators to hear the voices of those most affected by this legislation. Research-based non-partisan bills promoting quality civics education languish in committees today. Policies to improve civics education must emerge from a coalition and encompass a multifaceted approach, including professional development for teachers and support for student participation in civics-related activities. SB2202/HB3979 fall far short at improving civics education. State legislators should model the expectations of good citizenship we have for our students including identifying community issues that need addressing, building a broad coalition of support, deliberating on solutions that incorporate expert research, and implementing a measurable solution. Should these bills become law, success will be measured by the volume of silence.
The Texas Council for the Social Studies proudly represents the thousands of Texas social studies teachers and leaders who are entrusted with modeling good citizenship while passing down the story of Texas and America to a new generation. These passionate educators work tirelessly to fulfill Texas’ education mission of preparing “thoughtful, active citizens who understand the importance of patriotism and can function productively in a free enterprise society with appreciation for the basic democratic values of our state and national heritage.”
The Texas Teachers Review, Assess, Develop, and Exchange (T-TRADE) pilot is an innovative, collaborative system for teachers to develop and share high-quality assessment items. In the summer of 2021, the system will be piloted with teachers of two courses: Grade 5 mathematics and high school United States History Studies Since 1877. Participating teachers will be invited to participate in the pilot for approximately 40 hours spread over several weeks this summer.
Benefits of the T-TRADE System
To learn more, please visit the T-TRADE web page.
T-TRADE Applications: Applicants are encouraged to submit a TEA Committee Educator Application by April 30, 2021. A "Committee Preferences" section is at the end of the application; select "T-TRADE Assessment Items Development."
Assessment Educator Committees
TEA is seeking classroom teachers, instructional coaches, campus and district content specialists, and campus administrators to serve on a variety of assessment-related committees. The involvement of Texas education professionals supports TEA in designing and building the best quality assessments. TEA is accepting applications for the following teacher committees:
Teacher and instructional specialists or coaches for the following grades and subject areas are encouraged to apply:
To apply to participate in these committees, educators should complete the Educator Committee Application Form at https://www.txetests.com/edc/.
Currently there are several pieces of legislation moving through the Texas House and Senate that could have a significant impact on K-12 civic education in Texas. These include
· S.B. 2026, introduced by Chairman of the Senate Education Committee Republican Senator Larry Taylor (R- District 11), and its House sister bill H.B. 4509, introduced by Representative Greg Bonnen (R-District 24)
· H.B. 3211, introduced by Republican Representative Keith Bell (R- District 4), and
· S.B. 1740, introduced by Democratic Senator Judith Zaffirini (D- District 21).
H.B. 3211 and S.B. 1740 were both drafted by the Texas Civic Education Coalition, which is comprised of educators, educator associations (including the Texas Council for the Social Studies), policymakers, and civic education providers from across the State of Texas. This group is non-partisan and advocates for a holistic approach to civic education reform in the state.
The Texas Civic Education Coalition is urging support of these bills. If you are interested in expressing your support you may sign their letter by 9 am CT on Wednesday, April 7.
Letter calling for a comprehensive, bipartisan civic education package by 9 am CT on Wednesday, April 7.
A public hearing on civic education legislation will occur on Thursday, April 8 in the Senate. If you’d like to express your position on these pieces of legislation directly, please contact your local members of the State House and Senate. You may also send your letter directly to the Senate Education Committee by emailing: Beth.Shields_SC@Senate.Texas.Gov.
For more information about following social studies related legislation this 87th session
Here is the latest update from TEA.
I hope you have been energized by the turning of the calendar and like most of us I’m sure the new year brings anticipation and questions. Be assured that as a community of learners and leaders TCSS stands committed to advancing social studies education. Our theme for 2021 is Engage in the Experience.
As a community of social studies educators our engagement with each other enhances our practices and our lives, so too does engaging in TCSS. I encourage you to consider the many avenues to Engage in the Experience offered by TCSS. Have you thought about submitting a lesson or article to the Texan? How about presenting at the Fall Conference or volunteering at the conference? Maybe you're ready to run for a leadership position?
Most of us look forward to engaging with each other at the Fall Conference and 2021 is sure to be quite an experience. Mark your calendars for November 12-14 to Engage in the Experience at the new Khalari Resort in Round Rock. The annual conference offers TCSS members professional learning from the best of the best, our colleagues and state social studies leaders.
As an all volunteer organization, TCSS is dependent on our leaders who have dedicated themselves to making a difference. The TCSS Executive Committee and At-Large board members have already been meeting, as have some of our TCSS committees. These groups are already exploring ways to expand opportunities for Engaging in the Experience. I cannot thank these members enough, as the success of TCSS comes from their hard work.
I also want to thank all of you in the TCSS community. Your commitment to students and your colleagues through this most challenging time has been phenomenal. TCSS is here for you and here because of you, committed to advancing social studies education.
TCSS President 2021
I hope this finds you well.
As you may know, TEA is developing Texas Home Learning (THL), an optional set of resources for Texas educators including instructional materials, aligned professional learning, and technology supports during this new learning environment.
Before being released, THL Instructional Materials undergo a rigorous review process that includes input from Texas Educators. This review process helps ensure that released materials are of the highest quality, meet state standards, and meet the expectations and needs of all our districts.
The THL team at TEA has reached out to us to ask for our help in nominating folks to participate in this process. In particular, TEA is looking for individuals with expertise in K-5 Social Studies, though they welcome anyone with experience with Social Studies instructional materials in Texas. Through a series of focus groups, participants in this review process will help define what the final materials include in order to support all Texas teachers and students, as well as the implementation support and training publishers and TEA will provide through THL. The TEA THL team has worked to streamline this process as much as possible given the time constraints educators are currently under. Nominees are encouraged, but will not be required, to participate in every focus group over the course of the year, which would include 1-2 one hour sessions per month.
Please take 1 minute to think about educators you know who may be a good fit as a focus group participant and nominate them using this form! You may also use the same form to sign up yourself.
This is a great opportunity to #engageintheexperience. Thanks in advance for your leadership.
Educating for Democracy Act of 2020
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the bipartisan Educating for Democracy Act of 2020, S.4928, November 30th. This is a measure to significantly increase federal level investment in civic and history education. This is the Senate companion bill to the U.S. House version of the Educating for Democracy Act that was introduced on September 17th by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK).
This comprehensive, bipartisan legislation would authorize $1 billion in federal investment in civic and history education, including research, innovation, and teacher professional development, and would require the National Assessments of Educational Progress (NAEPs) in civic and history education to be conducted every two years at grades 4, 8 and 12, with state level results made publicly available. The full bill summary is available here.
The measure establishes new grant programs for state and local education agencies to strengthen and improve their approach to civic and history education. The bill provides funding for non-profit entities to develop or expand access to evidence-based curricula, instructional models, and other educational programs to enhance student knowledge and achievement in civics and history. Grants would be provided to higher education institutions to assist in developing and implementing programs to train elementary and secondary school teachers in methods for instructing and engaging students in civics and history.
If you are in support of this measure, consider reaching out to your legislators.
NCSS offers Social Studies Virtual Conference First-Timer Scholarships.
Any first-timer to an NCSS Conference may apply and they also have a
donor who wants to sponsor scholarships for social studies teachers of
color who want to attend.
For an application go to--
NCSS Virtual 2020 registration includes the content of three national conferences (NCSS, NCGE, AGA) available until April 30, 2021 as on demand. Most sessions and speakers are scheduled Sat Dec. 5th and Sun Dec 6th. See https://www.socialstudies.org/conference for more details. Spread the word.
TEA Social Studies Update
View the presentation
Email Calendar Drive