Financial literacy added to new social studies standards

Traders John Romolo, left, and Leon Montana work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in March 2020. (Nicole Pereira/NYSE)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

New social studies standards being developed for K-12 will emphasize age-appropriate economics and financial literacy, as well as a more accurate depiction of complex historical events in the New -Mexico, state education officials said Wednesday.

They will take into account the need for children from all communities in New Mexico “to see themselves culturally and linguistically reflected,” Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said.

“These standards will be implemented at the local level with local decision-making,” he said.

School districts and schools will design their own professional development or use professional development provided by PED, he said, adding that it will include local selection of instructional materials and information on design and monitoring of the how the standards will be implemented in each classroom.

The development and review process has been ongoing for 17 months, prompting Steinhaus and other DEP administrators to hold the press conference online Wednesday to provide a status report.

The social studies standards are typically updated about every 10 years, and the last revision was in 2009, but it wasn’t a major revision, Steinhaus said. “What we are announcing today is a major overhaul.”

Ultimately, the new standards incorporate changes based on feedback received during a 45-day public comment period that began last September, including 2,900 pages of written comments and over five hours of commentary. oral presentations given at a public hearing in November.

Districts will begin local adoption of the new standards this summer, followed by phased implementation throughout next school year through fall 2023, when full classroom implementation is expected, a said DEP Deputy Secretary Gwen Perea Warniment.

This schedule “gives everyone a full year to do professional development, work to unpack the standards” and for educators “to really understand what they need locally,” she said.

An important part of the review is the selection of teaching materials, including textbooks and programs presented to students, Warniment said.

The PED is now asking educators across the state to be part of a learning materials review team, from which the PED will create a list of recommendations.

“The list is provided as a resource for them, but districts are not obligated to actually use this list,” Warniment said. “We provide it as a solid guide in terms of the work that is involved in identifying high quality instructional material and why it is so important.”

Reviewing course materials is also a good way for educators to “examine the actual process that vendors follow when writing course materials, and research into why the curriculum plays such an important role in connection between grade levels,” as well as the conceptual flow and design of instructional materials, Warniment said.

Steinhaus noted that some members of the public have already expressed concern that the new social studies curriculum will include teaching critical race theory, which examines history, society, government and powerful people. American institutions from a racial perspective.

The New Mexico Republican Party released a written statement last September urging school boards and the public to oppose the proposed curriculum, saying it contains “critical teaching of race theory and a bias for progressive/liberal themes”.

Steinhaus pointed out that critical race theory “is not part of teaching in schools today, nor of the standards that are adopted, nor of teaching in the future.”

The standards do, however, provide “opportunities to discuss race” and “to analyze race relations issues.”

Additional disclaimer: “What is within the standards is historical accuracy”, as well as “diversity of representation and the impact of historical events on all New Mexicoers, and their perspectives”.

Sarah J. Greer