The major purpose of social science education is to prepare students to be humane, rational, understanding, informed, and participating citizens in a diverse society and in an increasingly interdependent world–students who will continue to progress toward a just society.
To function effectively as citizens of the world, the United States, California, and the community, students need to appreciate their American heritage and their common human, historical, and cultural background, as well as to esteem their own and others’ individual and group heritages.
To function effectively in society, the individual needs a breadth of knowledge about social situations and different economic systems—knowledge that exceeds immediate experience. The individual needs an awareness of the ways in which other men and women have derived answers to the crucial questions of human existence. The individual needs the skills of acquiring and validating knowledge. The individual also needs the ability to appreciate the perspectives of others and to have the capacity for understanding multiple perspectives on historical and social phenomena. The individual must understand that the crucial questions of human existence are ethical as well as emotional and intellectual.
As participating members of a democratic society, men and women must know how to cope with social problems and how to use reason, evidence, judgment, and freedom of choice. They must be able to act with responsibility and to accept and respect the rights and dignity of others. The individual must have a well-developed value system and be willing to act upon it, either independently or as a member of a group.
Each student is entitled to receive a broad, balanced, well-planned, and well-integrated series of learning experiences in the social sciences throughout the educational program. Instruction in the social sciences must be compatible with the developmental characteristics of young people.