HALL MONITOR: “YES” on establishing the Ohio Social Studies Taskforce

PDE Action supports Ohio HB 103.

Name: Ohio House Bill 103, Establish the Ohio Social Studies Standards Task Force

Summary: Creates a task force responsible for adopting social studies standards aligned with the “American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards.” 

Primary sponsors: Representatives Don Jones and Tracy Richardson

Cosponsors: Representatives Brett Hudson Hillyer, Gayle Manning, Gail Pavliga, Jean Schmidt, Bill Seitz

In Ohio, a sponsor drafts and introduces a piece of legislation for consideration. Co-sponsors then add their names in support of the bill. 

Breakdown: Ohio House Bill 103 would establish a task force to develop K-12 social studies and civics standards based on the American Birthright. The American Birthright, published by the National Association of Scholars, is an academically rigorous scope and sequence of American history and civics instruction. You can read the full American Birthright model here. 

The American Birthright scope and sequence…

  • Ensures that students learn the facts about American history absent of politicized narratives on race and gender.
  • Includes lessons on America’s failures to secure liberty and justice for all. The model states: “The reality that many Americans at some point were denied liberty and equality will be given due attention and place in the appropriate historical context.” 
  • Is not a curriculum. Nor would House Bill 103 dictate curriculum or lessons in Ohio schools. Rather, districts would be given the freedom and flexibility to adopt lessons and curriculum aligned with the American Birthright’s standards. 

House Bill 103 states that the governor, president of the senate, and speaker of the house of representatives would each appoint three people to the nine member task force. The task force would be required to provide time for public input when developing Ohio’s model standards. 

Why does PDE Action support this bill? 

Recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics found that just 13 percent of American eighth graders meed proficiency standards in history. Only 22 percent are proficient in civics. To address this problem, we must set high standards for our students. The American Birthright would set the bar high for Ohio students. 

Further, activists have used civics studies as a way to promote politicized views on race and gender in schools. Called action civics, schools have encouraged kids to protest or send letters to their state or federal legislators advocating for a specific policy. Instead of teaching students the facts about history, or how our government functions, schools have unfortunately used precious classroom time to teach kids political activism. 

We must promote positive standards like those outlined in the American Birthright to counter classroom politicization, including through action civics. Read our Action Civics Palm Card here. 

PDE Action also supports any measure to make public schools more transparent to the parents and community members they serve. House Bill 103 does so by ensuring that the task force provides time for the public to submit comments on its draft standards.