National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) HRE Community of Interest:

HRE USA partners with the NCSS HRE Community of Interest on various efforts related to the promotion of HRE within the social studies education.

In 2021, an updated NCSS Human Rights Education position statement was approved and published. This position statement was drafted by three HRE USA leadership team members—Christopher Buckley, a social studies teacher in Brookfield Public Schools, CT: Glenn Mitoma, Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Education and Director of Dodd Human Rights Impact at the University of Connecticut; and Jacob Skrzypiec, a social studies teacher in Manchester Public Schools, CT, along with a number of HRE USA Steering Committee members.

Additionally, Steering Committee member Rosemary Blanchard wrote an article for Social Education: NCSS After 100 Years titled “A History of NCSS Involvement in Human Rights” that looks at the connections and history between NCSS and HRE.

In 2017, HRE USA continued its support and collaboration with the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Human Rights Education Community. With urging from HRE USA and the NCSS HRE Community, the NCSS Board of Directors for the first time incorporated specific HRE skills in their National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers. HRE USA also supported the HRE Community’s call for schools and school districts to develop human rights friendly school programs to counter hate and intolerance. HRE USA recommended resources, including the Human Rights Friendly Toolkit developed by Amnesty International. NCSS’ House of Delegates adopted a resolution supporting this initiative, which is currently before the NCSS Board of Directors.

In 2016, the HRE Community of Interest submitted a proposed resolution to the NCSS House of Delegates in 2016 asking NCSS to call upon the U.S. government to honor its treaty commitments to teach the US population about human rights and international humanitarian law through its programs that “support and encourage civic, social and global education.” NCSS has offered its expertise and that of its members “to both governmental and civil society efforts to integrate human rights education into … social studies education.”

The resolution was approved unanimously. HRE USA will follow the progress of this resolution and share with our readers the important role that local schools, districts and state education agencies can play in meeting the commitments the United States has undertaken.

As a result of these positive collaborations, HRE USA and the NCSS HRE Community are working together to develop recommendations to schools of education across the country regarding the preparation of social studies teachers, are preparing to develop one or more webinars on ways to develop human rights friendly schools and are beginning a multi-year collaboration to create and propose to the NCSS Board of Directors a companion document on Human Rights Education to accompany the NCSS College, Career and Civic Life (C-3) Framework for Social Studies Standards. NCSS has already approved companion documents to the C-3 Framework in field such as Anthropology, Sociology, Religious Studies, etc.