Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Amy Jackson

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Sullivan


Social studies education plays a vital role in an evolving American society. Through social studies, students are equipped with skills to become active and informed citizens in a democracy (National Council for Social Studies, 2017a). With the implementation of the No Child Left (NCLB) Act in 2001, educational reforms have increasingly emphasized student performance in mathematics, communication arts, and science (Libresco, 2015). As a result, instructional time has been drastically shifted to these subjects (Heafner & Fitchett, 2015). This mixed-methods study was conducted to explore the impact of NCLB and subsequent federal education policies on the marginalization of social studies in Missouri. As part of the study, the number of instructional minutes spent in elementary social studies in Missouri public schools was examined to determine if there was a significant correlation between elementary social studies instructional minutes and high school state assessment scores in American Government. Surveys and interviews were conducted to gather teacher perspectives on the role of social studies education in American society. The results of the study indicated a significant difference between elementary instructional minutes in mathematics, communication arts, and social studies, but not a significant difference between science and social studies. A significant correlation was not found between the elementary minutes of social studies instruction and high school student performance on mandated assessments in American Government. During the interviews, Missouri secondary social studies teachers expressed alarm at the marginalization of social studies in elementary schools and what it could mean for society in the long term. The scope of the study was limited, however, and more studies are encouraged to further examine the effects of social studies marginalization.

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