Mass. towns studies social studies

Oct. 2, 2005 at 4:31 PM

NEWTON, Mass., Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A new report based on focus groups and surveys on how schools in Newton, Mass., teach social studies finds teachers overwhelmed and parents concerned.

"There is considerable fragmentation, many content gaps, and a general lack of coherence across K-12 in providing the full array of -- history, geography, and current events -- to students," said the report obtained by the Boston Globe.

The report said the curriculum tries to cover a broad spectrum of cultures, but some parents and teachers say the schools are straying from the state guidelines and shortchanging American history -- and that could put Newton students at a disadvantage when the state begins standardized testing on social studies.

For example, the Newton first grade curriculum suggests students learn the biographies of four of six figures: Benjamin Banneker, Yo-Yo Ma, Rachel Carson, Selma Burke, Mae Jemison and Thomas Edison -- but Edison is the only figure on the list that the state has on its list.

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