Dave Neumann (PhD, History, University of Southern California) is Associate Professor of History Education at CalPoly Pomona. He won several awards during more than a decade teaching high school history in West Covina and Long Beach. He was Director of the History Project at CSU Long Beach from 2008 through 2016, running dozens of professional development workshops for TK-12 teachers on many history-social science topics, including two NEH grants, a Teaching American History grant, and an Improving Teacher Quality grant. He was an instructor at CSU Long Beach for eight years, where he taught social studies courses for multiple subject and single subject students. At CalPoly, he teaches history-social studies methods courses for multiple and single subject candidates, as well as a course on secondary literacy. His research--which includes both history and education--explores transnationalism, American religion, the Cold War, Southern California, historical thinking, and the intersection between scholarship and pedagogy. His publications include Finding God through Yoga: Paramahansa Yogananda and Modern American Religion in a Global Age (UNC Press, 2019) and the Teachers Edition of America’s History for the AP Course. He has written thirty articles in publications including The History Teacher, Religion and American Culture, Social Education, The Social Studies, Southern California Quarterly, World History Bulletin, and World History Connected, and more than twenty book reviews.
History-social science has never been more important than it is right now. At a time when STEAM education has come to mean anything but social studies, our basic institutions of government have come under attack, civil discourse is rare, and our legacy of racism and oppression—national, state, and local—has become painfully clear. Our marginalized discipline is uniquely positioned to address these problems and many more. Social studies promotes Common Core literacy skills—reading, writing, speaking, and listening—grounded in the kinds of informational texts students read in college and the workplace. The practices of respectful debate around evidence have always been central to the field, along with a deep value for democratic institutions and our constitutional form of government. Critical reading skills, including digital literacy, counteract the damaging influence of misinformation. Understanding history is crucial for the development of complex forms of individual and community identity. And the development of empathy can help young people confront difficult pasts and advocate for social justice. We must make the case to teachers, teacher educators, administrators, parents, and other stakeholders that history-social science is vital to our students’ individual and collective development. To do so, we need to deepen collaboration across the TK-university spectrum. This includes professors of education and of history-social science disciplines, who should be part of this important conversation. CCSS, representing the largest and most diverse state in the Union, can play a key role in making quality social studies instruction central to all students’ educational experiences.