State Board of Education Seeks Public Feedback to Advance Tennessee’s Social Studies Education Standards

Monday, February 27, 2023 | 01:40pm

Contact:  Catherine Johnson
(615) 253-2588

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The Tennessee State Board of Education launched its second survey to collect public feedback on the state’s newly revised K-12 social studies academic standards earlier today, requesting public feedback through March 26, 2023.

The K-12 social studies standards set grade-specific goals that establish what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a given grade or course. Tennessee’s Academic Standards for social studies include not only key facts and information about social studies, but also concept strands like culture, economics, geography, history, politics/government, and Tennessee history. Social studies practices such as collecting data from primary and secondary sources and constructing arguments by citing supporting evidence are integrated into how the standards are delivered to students.

“Tennessee’s academic standards set the baseline for what students should know and be able todo at the end of each course,” said Catherine Johnson, deputy director of academic policy for the State Board and lead project manager for the standards review process. “Our academic standards build upon one another over time, so consistent and clear standards are key to ensuring the future academic success of our students.

”During the two public review periods, the State Board invites Tennesseans to share their feedback on the state’s K-12 social studies standards through an online survey. Members of the public can review the recommended changes to all sections of Tennessee’s social studies standards. The survey includes options to indicate whether a standard should be kept, changed, removed, or moved to a different grade level, as well as space to indicate if a new standard should be added.

The first round of public feedback closed on July 18, 2022, collecting over 114,500 comments from teachers, education leaders, and parents. At the conclusion of the first survey window, teams of Tennessee educators from K-12 schools and higher education reviewed the public comments which informed their proposed revisions. These revisions are now available for public review in the second survey window.

“Public feedback is critical to continuously refining our state academic standards and ensuring that they provide educators, students and parents with clear expectations at each grade level,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the State Board of Education. “The extensive and transparent standards review process, as set out by law, is integral to our collective efforts to prepare civically engaged Tennessee students.

”Established in law in 2015, Tennessee’s process for updating the academic standards on math,English language arts, social studies, and science is among the most transparent and,comprehensive in the nation.

The initial public survey on the social studies academic standards initiated a year-long process,that includes two rounds of public feedback and input from multiple committees of Tennessee educators.

Following the second survey, the Standards Recommendation Committee — a public body appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House of Representatives, and confirmed by the General Assembly — will review the proposed revisions alongside public comments to deliberately decide which standards to recommend to the State Board of Education,for final adoption. These steps combine public input and expert vetting in a transparent and inclusive way.

Adoption of the revised standards kicks off a preparation process that includes educator training, the adoption of aligned textbooks and instructional materials, and the alignment of state,assessments to the revised standards. After these processes are complete, the revised social,studies standards will be implemented in Tennessee classrooms during the 2026-27 school year.

The State Board last received public comment on Tennessee’s social studies standards in 2016 and, following revision, approved the current standards in July 2017. During the previous review,process, there were over 118,000 reviews and 25,000 comments, each of which was considered,by the educator advisory team as they updated the standards line-by-line.

An overview of the academic standards review process is available on the State Board of,Education website. Any questions on the academic standards review process should be sent to,


The Tennessee State Board of Education is a ten-member, gubernatorially and legislatively appointedboard charged under the law with rulemaking and policymaking for K-12 education. Through a closepartnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, the Board maintains oversight in K-12implementation and academic standards.