President's Fall 2021 Message

As we begin the 2021-2022 school year; a year that is full of new and exciting opportunities for social studies educators across the state, the New York State Council for the Social Studies also recognizes the unprecedented challenges many of us are currently facing.

With criticism and controversy being leveled from seemingly all segments of society, it is important that we address some of the misconceptions that have arisen over the last year, as well as the purposeful mis-categorization of history teaching in classrooms. One way the NYSCSS seeks to do so is to clarify and define many of the terms that have become focal points in larger, national conversations about politics, race, and heritage.  To this extent, we have assembled a list of resources with the intention of helping our membership be better equipped to understand and navigate these conversations.

What is Critical Race Theory? A Brief History Explained

A Lesson on Critical Race Theory

Critical race theory in the classroom: Understanding the debate

Sticks & Stones: Understanding and Challenging Implicit Bias, Microaggressions & Stereotypes

Who, Me? Biased?: Understanding Implicit Bias - PBS Learning

Understanding Implicit Bias -

Implicit Bias, Microaggressions, and Stereotypes Resources -

We have also provided links to statements on by the Chancellor of New York State Education NYSED and the National Council of the Social Studies NCSS.  We at the New York State Council for the Social Studies support and share the ideals mentioned in each of these statements.      

Another recent development in education has been the vitriol attacks being propelled at civic readiness initiatives taking place across the country.  The purpose of civics education is to provide students with the specific skills and understanding necessary to become responsible and engaged citizens; a mission addressed by the New York State Department of Education, and one which the NYSCSS wholeheartedly supports.  Consequently, we are providing additional links to resources and materials that help clarify the goal of civic readiness, as well as provide educators with the resources they need to address it in their classrooms.  

Civic Readiness Initiative

Teaching Civics: Homepage

iCivics: Home

The beginning of the 2021-2022 school year also marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11.  With this anniversary comes the enormous task of accurately teaching the events of the past, while simultaneously commemorating those whose lives were lost.  To assist in this endeavor, we have provided a list of resources below:

20th Anniversary Commemoration

9/11 Stories to be Told: 20 Years Later

Remembering 9/11 — FBI

9/11 20th anniversary remembrance events to come

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to please save the date for the NYSCSS Annual Convention to take place at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, March 10-12th, 2022.  We are excited to announce that we are planning for an in-person convention this year.

Thank You,

Tom Michalek




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