NJ Learning Standards

Social Studies Education in the 21st Century*

The digital age has transformed social studies education, allowing 21st-century learners to transcend the limits of time and place and experience historic events virtually. By expanding their learning networks through online collaboration with experts and other students from around the world, New Jersey social studies students develop an increased depth of understanding of our global society. At the same time, their understanding of the fundamental principles and values of American democracy and citizenship provides the conceptual framework that allows them to make informed decisions about local, national, and international issues and challenges.

MissionSocial studies education provides learners with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives needed to become active, informed citizens and contributing members of local, state, national, and global communities in the digital age.

Vision: An education in social studies fosters a population that:

  • Is civic minded, globally aware, and socially responsible.
  • Exemplifies fundamental values of American citizenship through active participation in local and global communities.
  • Makes informed decisions about local, state, national, and global events based on inquiry and analysis.
  • Considers multiple perspectives, values diversity, and promotes cultural understanding.
  • Recognizes the implications of an interconnected global economy.
  • Appreciates the global dynamics between people, places, and resources.
  • Utilizes emerging technologies to communicate and collaborate on career and personal matters with citizens of other world regions.

Intent and Spirit of the Social Studies Standards

All students receive social studies instruction from Preschool through grade 12. The challenges of the 21st century are complex, have global implications, and are connected to people, places, and events of the past. The study of social studies focuses on deep understanding of concepts that enable students to think critically and systematically about local, regional, national, and global issues.



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