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Learning Standards & Requirements

Alignment of Reform to Equal Rights: K-12 Disability History Curriculum with Content in State Standards  

Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework (2018)


New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Social Studies (2020) 


State Mandates / Supports of Disability History  

Summary: Six states mandate Disability History Day, Week or Month. Six states mandate the teaching of disability history. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania enact support for disability history. 

  • West Virginia (2006) - Mandates 3rd week in October as Disability History Week. 
  • Iowa - SR 39 (2006) & (2007) - Mandated Disability History Week in those years. 
  • Florida - HB 856 (2008) - Mandates "Disability History Weeks" in October and provides for instruction in disability history and awareness. 
  • Washington - SB 6313 (2008) - Mandates "Disability History Month" in October. 
  • Delaware - resolution (2009) - Encouraged teaching of disability history during October of that year.  
  • Illinois - HB 1035 (2009) - Mandates teaching of disability history. 
  • Kansas - SB 41 (2009) - Mandates teaching of disability history. 
  • Maryland - Executive order 01.01.2009.10. (2009) - Proclaims October as Disability History and Awareness Month. 
  • Virginia - SJR 321 (2009) - Designates October as Disability History and Awareness Month. 
  • California - SB 1256 - Ed Roberts Day (2010) & SB 48 - Fair Act (2011) which mandates teaching about the contributions of LGBTQ and persons with disabilities. 
  • Mississippi - SCR 557 (2011) - Designates Disability History Week. 
  • Massachusetts (2018) - History and Social Science Curriculum Framework incorporates substantial points of disability history into history content standards. (See link above.) 
  • New Jersey - S1569 (2019) - Mandates teaching about the history of persons and disabilities and LGBT people. (Also see links above.) 
  • Oregon - HB 2023 (2019) - Mandates teaching about the history of groups including persons with disabilities.
  • Nevada - AB 261 / SF 194 (2021) - Mandates teaching about the history of groups including persons with disabilities.  
  • Pennsylvania - 1949 Act 14 - Disability Inclusive Curriculum (2022) - Creates a pilot grant program to schools "to provide instruction to students on the political, economic and social contributions of individuals with disabilities." (Legislation does not reference disability history.) 


Some of these data on state legislation come by way of the American Historical Association (AHA), where researchers for the forthcoming "Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education Project" have assembled a legislative database of instructional mandates related to K12 social studies. Publication of this data does not imply endorsement by the AHA. Other data come from a 2011 report: "Establishing Disability History Awareness Initiatives: A Roadmap for States and Territories," by the National Association of Governor's Committees. Any errors are the responsibility of Emerging America, not the AHA. If you have updated information on state mandates or other disability history legislation or rules, please contact Rich Cairn at Emerging America: <rcairn @>. 


National C3 Framework for Social Studies–Inquiry 

A central mission of public schools since their creation in the mid-1800s, civic education today includes the beliefs that students need to be aware of their changing cultural and physical environments; know the past; read, write, and think deeply; and act in ways that promote the common good. The 2013 College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (2013) encourage the development of knowledgeable, thoughtful, and active citizens through a focus on inquiry. C3 emphasizes the development of solid questions, application of discipline-specific knowledge and skills, making reasonable claims supported by evidence, meaningful expression and action rising from those claims. Note that C3 wholly defers content standards to the states.


Educating for American Democracy (EAD) Roadmap

The 2021 EAD Roadmap is not a set of standards. It does offer is an unprecedented effort that convened a diverse and cross-ideological group of scholars and educators to create a Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy— guidance and an inquiry framework that states, local school districts, and educators can use to transform teaching of history and civics to meet the needs of a diverse 21st century K–12 student body. 

In 2021, Emerging America and the Learning Disabilities Association of America published a Disability History and Civics Extension to the EAD Roadmap. 

In 2022 the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies and Emerging America published Considerations and Contributions of Multilingual Americans and the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap. 


Common Core State Standards (2011) 

Originally supported by business and educators alike, these ground-breaking standards influenced literacy standards in every state. Almost all have dropped the "Common Core" language. Yet there has remained an emphasis on informational texts (including primary sources), and core skills of analysis, critical thinking, inquiry, and skills for writing and speaking, including making and supporting claims with evidence and solid reasoning. 


See also the Inclusive Civics Engagement page in the Accessing Inquiry Clearinghouse for tools and strategies to align curriculum and instruction with civics education goals and standards. 


Upcoming Workshops

July 15 - 8:30am - 3pm - Collaborative for Educational Services, 97 Hawley Street, Northampton, Massachusetts. Register. This workshop is full. Email events@co…
Join DESE Civics Pathways Professional Learning The DESE Civics Pathways are an initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Educat…
Network with thousands of dynamic educators from across the country for the 104th annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies, including th…