Julie Bauer, an eighth-grade teacher at John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Davenport, has been named a member of the state team that will rewrite Iowa’s social studies standards for public review and possible adoption statewide.
Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise made the announcement earlier this month, and noted that the team’s work would begin Jan. 21.
“As a former social studies teacher, I understand from personal experience the need to have high-quality standards that drive instruction,” Wise said. “I see this writing team as a great opportunity to improve our social studies standards and to raise awareness of the importance of having clear and consistent expectations for what Iowa students should know and be able to do to be successful.”
Iowa has set statewide standards for mathematics, English-language arts, science and 21st century skills that will be revisited over time. The state’s social studies standards have more room for growth and improvement, Wise said.
For example, about a third of Iowa middle school and high school teachers who responded to a recent survey said they were dissatisfied with Iowa’s social studies standards, which were adopted in 2008. In written comments, 17 percent of the surveyed teachers said Iowa needs clearer, more specific social studies standards.
Academic standards outline a set of expectations, not a curriculum, so decisions about how to help students reach statewide standards remain with teachers and school administrators.
The Social Studies Standards Writing Team will develop draft standards that will then be subject to public review. This will include convening a special review panel and seeking public input statewide.
Bauer, an ELA, social studies and religion teacher at JFK Catholic School, said: “I am humbled to be included in that list as a representative for middle school students, specifically in the Diocese of Davenport. For many personal reasons, I believe the Holy Spirit was very much at work.”