Re: Anth in K-12 Soc.Stud?

Eugenie C. Scott (ncse@CRL.COM)
Fri, 6 Jan 1995 12:46:50 -0800

Dear Dr. Erickson,

I'm delighted to hear of your efforts to bring anthropology to the K-12
level, and wish you great luck, but I'm pessimistic about the results.
Virtually every state includes sociology, economics, and history as part
of the social sciences, but pointedly ignore anthropology. One reason is
the cultural relativism of anthropology (we seem unwilling to say that
America is best, thus to some we are saying that America is bad) but a
bigger one is that we teach evolution. In fact, it is virtually
impossible to teach anthropology without teaching evolution, and given
the attacks on evolution at the K-12 level BIOLOGY class, the prospect of
getting even MORE in, in social studies, has a dim future.

Although it is not a replacement for MACOS, there is a good intro human
evooution and physical anthropology program produced by the Los Angeles
USD. Info on "Stones and Bones" can be obtained from Mr. Milton Anisman,
818-997-2389. These are courses for junior high or high school, both 4
week and full semester, and include casts and lots of hands-on
activities. I recommend them.

Regarding what topics are appropriate for K-6, let me encourage you to
offer a *responsible* curriculum on native Americans/Indians. If you've
ever seen what passes for N.A. curricula in elementary school, you'd
blanch, as would most anthropologists. Indians are homogenized as "the"
Indian, rather than being presented in -- minimaly -- culture areas of
great diversity. (They are also presented as being "ecologicaly correct"
and "sprirtually purer" than the invading Europeans, etc., but that's
another issue.)

Good luck. I'd like to see more anthro at K-12.

Eugenie C. Scott



Eugenie C. Scott
1328 6th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710-1404
FAX: 510-526-1675


On Thu, 5 Jan 1995, Ken Erickson wrote:

> In my new job I'm getting new questions. Here is one; perhaps one of
> you can lead me to some answers?
> Now that "Man--A Course of Study" is in the curricular dustbin, what
> K-12 models are there to integrate anthropological content in U.S.
> pubic education? More specific:
> *How can Goals 2000 standards include anthro in the soc. studies?
> *Have other state assessments included anthropology? How?
> *What content makes the most sense grades K-6?
> While the national standards business raises prickly questions about
> standardized testing, a hegemonic curricula, and all, it may at the same
> time provide an open window into which to toss some anthro content.
> Please share your thoughts on any of these points. We are just now
> devising a state-wide social studies assessment that will hit elementary
> middle school and high school here in Kansas. Top down is bad for some
> kinds of development, but for moving curriculum along it can have a
> rapid result. Our math assessment brought about some real instructional
> change at the elementary level. Should we not find a way to impact the K-12
> curriculum in all this Goals 2000 business? I know my colleagues in
> Anth & Ed have worked long and hard on this topic; I need a quick
> refresher and help to integrate what has been done into a Goals 2000
> context.
> Equity Outcomes Coordinator
> Kansas State Board of Education
> 120 SE 10th AVenue
> Topeka, KS 66612
> 913/296-2424 (voice) 913/296-7933 (fax)
> ...of course the "N"ew"t" congress may change Goals 2000...