Abstract 2, Volume 9, Number 3, Winter 2014

Another Missed Opportunity: Gender in the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

Kathryn E. Engebretson

Indiana University, Bloomington

As the Era of Accountability has given rise to the prevalence of curriculum standards and multiple educational stakeholders have engaged in the writing of these documents, the National Council for the Social Studies has revised its original standards document published nearly two decades ago.  This study investigated what the revised document reveals in terms of gendered discourses.  Through employing the tools of discourse analysis, the dominant discourses advanced in the document’s curricular recommendations were revealed.  Two discourses prevailed in the analysis: gender imbalance with a narrow view of valued masculinity and gender-free with a hidden discourse of males dominating in those spaces.  A discussion of the presence of  trans and other gender identities in the document is included.  As gender is sparsely mentioned in the curricular recommendations, and a binary view of gender is adhered to throughout, there is little guidance for curriculum writers and teachers to teach in transformative ways that challenge the status quo.

Keywords: gender, masculinity, transgender, national standards, social studies, discourse analysis, K-12

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