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The Journal of Social Studies and History Education is a peer reviewed online journal that provides a unique opportunity for educators to investigate a variety of important themes in linking theory and practice in social studies and history education for the 21st century. This research-based academically oriented journal champions all educators as reflective practitioners interested in rethinking social studies and history education. A particular goal is to insist that public education is a great strength of any democracy and that human progress is facilitated through the public good, of which education is a central component.
The last thirty–five years or so has seen a definite challenge or even threat to public education and to social studies and history education as well. A Nation at Risk was perhaps a beginning to the this challenge, but has been exacerbated with Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the education “reform” movement (Charter Schools, testing, accountability), the education industry, and the growth of unbridled capitalism. Resources and support for public education and social studies / history education has often been redistributed and reallocated.
What is left, particularly with social studies and history education, is a discipline struggling to adapt to often very top down and traditional approaches to teaching and learning. Everyone is an education “expert” and more and more hands want in on the possibilities. What’s more, students often don’t like social studies and history to begin with, and with increased imposition of teaching to the test, standardization, narrow perspectives, and even devaluing social studies and history in general, there seems much to be done.
The partnership between the Texas Council for the Social Studies and the University of Houston (and the Social Education program area at UH), along with general support by the National Council for the Social Studies, has enabled quite an opportunity. In addition, the editorial review board represents a wide rage of educators with great passion as well as experience in research, teaching and service to improve social studies and history education. Finally, the staff of the journal, including University of Houston social education faculty and graduate students as well as local educators, are all committed to enriching social studies and history education for students, educators, and society at large.
The journal strives to support critical investigation, culturally responsive pedagogy, multiple perspectives, issues and problem-based approaches, and a celebration of the possibility of social studies and history education. Other themes include linking the local with the global, addressing equity and social justice issues, challenging traditional / narrow conceptions, contextualizing teaching and learning through media and popular culture, allowing for a meaningful connection between knowledge, skills, and dispositions within social studies and history education, and bridging gaps between school, universities, and the local community.
Cameron White, PhD
University of Houston