There is a high school classroom where students engage in substantive discussion of longstanding social questions and current global issues. The discussion is uncontrovertibly deep and wide, and grounded in specifics. In a debate of differing views on the topic at hand, students are heard quoting main ideas of philosophers behind these views, citing historical examples, offering and refuting analogies, relating events and trends by applying broad concepts, and evaluating solutions. They listen to each other and often reference what has been said earlier or studied months ago. When the group exchange of information and ideas is ended, they reflect and write. They are prepared to thrive... and willing to make a difference.
The CALIS mission is to realize this vision as a typical American classroom. This vision is not our own; it has been described in various ways by founders and proponents of American public education.
CALIS works with teachers who share the vision and whose schools and districts wish to be part of a collaborative partnership. These teachers and their administrations are passionate about civic education and want to be part of leadership in the field of social studies and advancements of historic significance in the evolution of American classrooms.
At the heart of this vision is the transformation of the secondary history-social studies curriculum. This change is not inevitible. We must create a new paradigm along with the resources that it requires. In social studies, there can be no generic approach. Every topic, every lesson, every question must be mapped with classroom-ready materials for students to be able to engage directly in analyzing and responding.
Teachers must be at the center of this REFRAMING process with the full support of university scholars and school administrators.
We continue to seek partners to join the dialog and work of this journey.