Knowing when George Washington crossed the Delaware or what amendment gave women the right to vote will not be enough if a new social studies framework takes hold in classrooms.

It is called the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. The focus is less on knowing the basic facts and more on using those facts to lead to inquiry-based education.

At a recent showcase in the Union Gap School library, teachers from around the Yakima Valley discussed how they are using the program.

Bryan Dibble, a U.S. history teacher at Selah Junior High, says the change in method does not alter the content.

“I tell parents it’s not about what subject area it is, but how we teach it.”

The focus shifts to deeper questions. Dibble explained that tests will move from multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions to deeper inquiries that encourage kids to give answers with facts backing up their argument.

Carol Coe, the social studies program supervisor at the state Office of the Superintendent, says this new style was developed by several organizations around the country such as historical foundations and civic organizations. And its focus is not just giving students knowledge, but creating good and informed citizens for the country.

Coe stressed that this will not be a requirement for all schools, saying, “We will not adopt it because we already have our state learning standards. Those standards are what direct teachers.” She just wanted to provide what she called a “toolkit” to help any teacher who might need it, especially when it comes to common core curriculum.

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