Social studies is considered to be the part of the school curriculum which helps students develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values needed to participate in civic life. Social studies aims to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world (NCSS).
According to the Bradley Commission on History in Schools:
History belongs in the school programs of all students, regardless of their academic standing and preparation, of their curricular track, or of their plans for the future. It is vital for all citizens in a democracy, because it provides the only avenue we have to reach an understanding of ourselves and of our society, in relation to the human condition over time, and of how some things change and others continue (Jackson, 1989, p. 21).
“Powerful” social studies teaching, as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies, builds a working knowledge of the evolution of the human condition through time across locations and cultures and an appreciation of the implications of this knowledge for social and civic decision-making (1992).