Midgard Goes to Austin for the National Council for the Social Studies ConferenceNovember 19, 2019
We’re very excited to be attending the NCSS Conference in Austin this weekend (Nov. 21-24). Social Studies is a big tent and the NCSS seems to have something for all of our 3,500 colleagues from all fifty states. We’ll be mingling and looking to say hi to many of you. Some of you we’ve already been communicating with via email or phone calls, and it will be nice to see you “live.”
The vision of the NCSS is “to enable a world in which all students are educated and inspired for lifelong inquiry and informed civic action.” That, of course, is precisely the guiding principle behind Midgard Education Publishing. The key word in the previous statement is “all.” By keeping the pricing of our books and curriculum programs so low, we want to bring high-quality, inquiry-based, C3-inspired social studies education to every student. Currently, our books are encouraging students across the country in public schools, as well as in private and charter schools. Very soon, we will be announcing exciting new pilot programs in school systems in Louisiana, as well as on Native American reservations.
The other key phrase in the NCSS vision statement is “lifelong inquiry.” Too often, teachers and administrators have to work overtime just to get students through the day, semester, year, and graduated from secondary school. That is no small thing. We want to help schools instill a love of learning in students, specifically a love of reading. All our research has shown that reading is the key to lifelong learning. Through reading, students learn to teach themselves. Our publishing company was founded on the idea that if students have interesting books to read, non-fiction history and civics books that inspire and delight them, they’ll more readily embrace the curriculum—and continue to be active readers and thinkers for life.
This brings us to the third key phrase from the NCSS, “informed civic action.” Lately, in the news, we’ve seen a lot of action and a lot of virulent reaction. Much of it, however, is not very civil, especially on social media. We want to bring civics back as a vibrant part of secondary education. We believe that good citizenship begins in middle school, when young minds are supple and yearning for involvement with the greater world. We also believe that effective civics means being informed and knowing how to ask the questions that further understanding and don’t close off communication. Our workbook Civil Discourse and How to Survive It is a primer on how to understand the virtues, ethics, and morality behind the laws and government, and how to constructively debate any issue without rancor or divisiveness.
With all that in mind, we feel that we have a lot to share with our 3500 colleagues, and that they will have a lot to share with us. Plus, Austin is a cool city. See you there!