Desktop Schools Popup

Select a School

619 - K-12 Social Studies Beliefs and Goals

619 - K-12 Social Studies Beliefs and Goals

Adopted: November 1990
Revised: June 2013

Download 619 - K-12 Social Studies Beliefs and Goals

1. K-12 Social Studies Beliefs

1.1 Informed citizen participation in public life is essential to the health of our democratic system.

1.2 A variety of integrated experiences drawing on such disciplines as history, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology and anthropology enables students to function effectively and contribute constructively within society.

1.3 The social studies curriculum provides the opportunity for each student to acquire knowledge; gain a deeper appreciation of the commonalities and the diversity which makes our national and world societies culturally unique, and develop skills necessary for responsible social, political and economic participation in a diverse, interdependent and changing world.

1.4 The social studies curriculum provides students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills to become active and responsible citizens of the United States and the world.

1.5 A quality social studies curriculum promotes life-long learning by providing historical perspectives and social science foundations for understanding events and issues from multiple points of view. 

1.6 The social studies curriculum integrates both the Minnesota Academic Standards for the Social Studies and the Minnesota Academic Standards for Reading and Writing in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.

2. K-12 Social Studies Goals

K-12 students will gain knowledge and skills to understand the following standards in Citizenship and Government, Economics, Geography, and History:

2.1 Citizenship and Government

2.1.1 Civic Skills – Democratic government depends on informed and engaged citizens who exhibit civic skills and values, practice civic discourse, vote and participate in elections, apply inquiry and analysis skills, and take action to solve problems and shape public policy.

2.1.2 Civic Values and Principles of Democracy  The civic identity of the United States is shaped by historical figures, places and events, and by key foundational documents and other symbolically important artifacts  The United States is based on democratic values and principles that include liberty, individual rights, justice, equality, the rule of law, limited government, common good, popular sovereignty, majority rule and minority rights.

2.1.3 Rights and Responsibilities Individuals in a republic have rights, duties and responsibilities.  Citizenship and its rights and duties are established by law.

2.1.4 Governmental Institutions and Political Process The United States government has specific functions that are determined by the way that power is delegated and controlled among various bodies: the three levels (federal, state and local) and the three branches (legislative, executive and judicial) of government.  The primary purposes of rules and laws within the United States constitutional government are to protect individual rights, promote the general welfare and provide order. Public policy is shaped by governmental and non-governmental institutions and political processes.  Free and fair elections are key elements of the United States political system.

2.1.5 Relationships of the United States to Other Nations and Organizations  The United States establishes and maintains relationships and interacts with indigenous nations and other sovereign nations, and plays a key role in world affairs.  International political and economic institutions influence world affairs and United States foreign policy. Governments are based on different political philosophies and purposes; governments establish and maintain relationships with varied types of other governments.

2.2   Economics

2.2.1 Economic Reasoning Skills - People make informed economic choices by identifying their goals, interpreting and applying data, considering the short- and long-run costs and benefits of alternative choices, and revising their goals bases on their analysis.

2.2.2 Personal Finance - Personal and financial goals can be achieved by applying economic concepts and principles to personal financial planning, budgeting, spending, saving, investing, borrowing and insuring decisions.

2.2.3 Fundamental Concepts Because of scarcity, individuals, organizations and governments must evaluate trade-offs, make choices and incur costs. Economic systems differ in the ways that they address the three basic economic issues of allocation, production and distribution to meet society’s broad economic goals.

2.2.4   Microeconomic Concepts  Individuals, businesses and governments interact and exchange goods, services and resources in different ways and for different reasons; interactions between buyers and sellers in a market determine the price and quantity exchanged of a good, service or resource.  Profit provides an incentive for individuals and businesses; different business organizations and market structures have an effect on the profit, price and production of goods and services. Resource markets and financial markets determine wages, interest rates and commodity prices. Market failures occur when markets fail to allocate resources efficiently or meet other goals and this often leads to government attempts to correct the problem.

2.2.5 Macroeconomic Concepts Economic performance (the performance of an economy toward meeting its goals) can be measured, and is affected, by various long-term factors.  The overall levels of output, employment and prices in an economy fluctuate in the short run as a result of the spending and production decisions of households, businesses, governments and others.  The overall performance of an economy can be influenced by the fiscal policies of governments and the monetary policies of central banks. International trade, exchange rates and international institutions affect individuals, organizations and governments throughout the world.

2.3   Geography

2.3.1 Geospatial Skills  People use geographic representations and geospatial technologies to acquire, process and report information within a spatial context.  Geographic inquiry is a process in which people ask geographic questions and gather, organize and analyze information to solve problems and plan for the future.

2.3.2 Places and Region Places have physical characteristics (such as climate, topography and vegetation) and human characteristics (such as culture, population, political and economic systems).  People construct regions to identify, organize and interpret areas of the earth’s surface, which simplifies the earth’s complexity.

2.3.3 Human Systems  The characteristics, distribution and migration of human populations on the earth’s surface influence human systems (cultural, economic and political systems).  Geographic factors influence the distribution, functions, growth and patterns of cities and human settlements.  The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of the earth’s cultures influence human systems (social, economic and political systems).  Processes of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of the earth’s surface.

2.3.4 Human Environment Interaction  The environment influences human actions and humans both adapt to, and change, the environment.  The meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources changes over time.

2.4.  History

2.4.1 Historical Thinking Skills  Historians generally construct chronological narratives to characterize eras and explain past events and change over time. Historical inquiry is a process in which multiple sources and different kinds of historical evidence are analyzed to draw conclusions about how and why things happened in the past.

2.4.2 Peoples, Cultures and Change Over Time Historical events have multiple causes and can lead to varied and unintended outcomes. The differences and similarities of cultures around the world are attributable to their diverse origins and histories, and interactions with other cultures throughout time. History is made by individuals acting alone and collectively to address problems in their communities, state, nation and world.

2.4.3 World History Environmental changes and human adaptation enabled human migration from Africa to other regions of the world. The emergence of domestication and agriculture facilitated the development of complex societies and caused far-reaching social and cultural effects. The development of interregional systems of communication and trade facilitated new forms of social organization and new belief systems. Hemispheric networks intensified as a result of innovations in agriculture, trade across longer distances, the consolidation of belief systems, and the development of new multi-ethnic empires while diseases and climate change caused sharp, periodic fluctuations in global population. New connections between the hemispheres resulted in the “Columbian Exchange,” new sources and forms of knowledge, development of the first truly global economy, intensification of coerced labor, increasingly complex societies and shifts in the international balance of power. Industrialization ushered in wide-spread population growth and migration, new colonial empires, and revolutionary ideas about government and political power. A rapidly evolving world dominated by industrialized powers, scientific and technological progress, profound political, economic, and cultural change, world wars, and widespread violence and unrest produced a half century of crisis and achievement. Post-World War II geopolitical reorganization produced the Cold War balance of power and new alliances that were based on competing economic and political doctrines. Globalization, the spread of capitalism and the end of the Cold War have shaped a contemporary world still characterized by rapid technological change, dramatic increases in global population and economic growth coupled with persistent economic and social disparities and cultural conflict.

2.4.4 United States History North America was populated by indigenous nations that had developed a wide range of social structures, political systems and economic activities, and whose expansive trade networks extended across continent. Rivalries among European nations and their search for new opportunities fueled expanding global trade networks and, in North America, colonization and settlement and the exploitation of indigenous peoples and lands; colonial development evoked varied responses by indigenous nations, and produced regional societies and economies that included imported slave labor and distinct forms of local government. The divergence of colonial interests from those of England led to an independence movement that resulted in the American Revolution and the foundation of a new nation based on the ideals of self-government and liberty. Economic expansion and the conquest of indigenous and Mexican territory spurred the agricultural and industrial growth of the United States; led to increasing regional, economic and ethnic divisions, and inspired multiple reform movements. Regional tensions around economic development, slavery, territorial expansion and governance resulted in a civil war and a period of Reconstruction that led to the abolition of slavery, a more powerful federal government, a renewed push into indigenous nations’ territory and continuing conflict over racial relations. As the United States shifted from its agrarian roots into an industrial and global power, the rise of big business, urbanization and immigration led to institutionalized racism, ethnic and class conflict, and new efforts at reform. The economic growth, cultural innovation, and political apathy of the 1920s ended in the Great Depression which spurred new forms of government intervention and renewed labor activism, followed by World War II and an economic resurgence. Post-World War II United States was shaped by an economic boom, Cold War military engagements, politics and protests, and rights movements to improve the status of racial minorities, women and America’s indigenous peoples. The end of the Cold War, shifting geopolitical dynamics, the intensification of the global economy and rapidly changing technologies have given renewed urgency to debates about the United States’ identity, values and role in the world.


  • Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies 2011