The Vision for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards provides guidance for states to use in enhancing their standards for rigor in civics, economics, geography, and history in K-12 schools. The C3 Framework, currently under development, will ultimately focus on the disciplinary and multidisciplinary concepts and practices that make up the process of investigation, analysis, and explanation which will be informative to states interested in upgrading their social studies standards. It will include descriptions of the structure and tools of the disciplines (civics, economics, geography, and history) as well as the habits of mind common in those disciplines. The C3 Framework will also include an inquiry arc-a set of interlocking and mutually supportive ideas that frame the ways students learn social studies content. This framing and background for standards development to be covered in C3 all point to the states' collective interest in students using the disciplines of civics, economics, geography, and history as they develop questions and plan investigations; apply disciplinary concepts and tools; gather, evaluate, and use evidence; and work collaboratively and communicate their conclusions.
The C3 Framework will focus primarily on inquiry and concepts, and will guide - not prescribe - the content necessary for a rigorous social studies program. CCSSO recognizes the critical importance of content to the disciplines within social studies and supports individual state leadership in selecting the appropriate and relevant content.
Like the Common Core State Standards, the C3 Framework will be based on evidence and will aim at college and career readiness. As a core area in the K-12 curriculum, social studies prepares students for college and career including the disciplinary practices and literacies that are needed for college-level work in social studies academic courses and the critical thinking, problem solving, and collaborative skills needed for the workplace.
The C3 Framework also adds a third essential component to college and career readiness - civic life. Learning to be actively and responsibly engaged in civic life requires knowledge and experience; children learn to be citizens by working individually and together as citizens. An essential element of social studies education, therefore, is experiential - practicing the arts and habits of civic life collaboratively.
The forthcoming framework, to be released in 2013, will be a significant resource for all states to consider in their local processes for upgrading state social studies standards, rather than set standards for states to adopt. This document, Vision for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards, is designed to give states and other interested parties an understanding of how the C3 Framework is being developed and designed.