Social Studies Standards Condensed; Study of the Renaissance Would Be Cut for Sixth and Seventh Grades

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ATLANTA - It looks like Georgia students will have to wait until later in their school careers to admire the works of Michelangelo.

The State Board of Education is scheduled to approve a set of social studies standards today for sixth and seventh grades that would remove references to the Renaissance and pare down the number of countries students would have to be able to identify on a map.

The changes are in response to the state's dismal scores on a social studies test administered to students last year. The results, which showed only 20 to 30 percent of students passing, sparked outrage among parents and teachers.

Removing the Renaissance from the curriculum was one of the most controversial moves, said William Cranshaw, social studies program manager for the Georgia Department of Education. But he told the board at its Wednesday work session that the state needed to get rid of something, and the period also appears in the high school curriculum.

"It has a very good set of standards and elements on the Renaissance," Cranshaw said.

But even Superintendent Kathy Cox, who is formally recommending the curriculum changes to the board, seemed uncomfortable with removing the cultural revival in Europe from the standards.

"The fundamental question we have to ask ourselves: Is it OK, as a state, for us to suggest that a student doesn't need to know who Michelangelo is until they're 15 years old?" said Cox. "I just have a real hard time with that. …


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