Final draft social studies standards represent radical change
The new standards represent radical change. Critical Race Theory-derived teachings and political ideology replace the basic factual knowledge students need to be informed citizens.
Minnesota students deserve education, not indoctrination.
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Latest Update: Social studies standards in rulemaking process, more opportunities for feedback forthcoming.
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Key messages from the third draft of standards:
- The standards are driven by the themes of Critical Race Theory: group identity based on race; life as a power struggle between oppressors and victims; and American history as a shameful story of domination, marginalization and injustice.
- Ideology has replaced the basic factual knowledge students need to be informed citizens.
- The primary vehicle for CRT ideology in the third draft is “Ethnic Studies,” a highly politicized “fifth strand” added to the four Social Studies content areas named in state law.
- The first Ethnic Studies standard (Std. 23) teaches that a student’s personal identity is determined by his or her group status. The second and third standards (Std. 24 and Std. 25) require students to organize to “resist” America’s “systemic” abuse of power against “marginalized,” “oppressed” groups.
- Like earlier drafts, the third draft replaces objective historical knowledge — facts about the key events and figures of the past — with a fixation on “dominant and non-dominant narratives” and “absent voices.”
- According to MDE, one of its primary goals in the third draft was an increased focus on Native Americans. To say this was accomplished is an understatement.
- The draft now reflects a relentless fixation with Native American history resulting in a striking imbalance in the time and attention students will devote to indigenous-related topics.
- MDE’s decision to eliminate basic factual knowledge from the Social Studies curriculum extends to the third draft’s geography standards. Minnesota students will no longer learn the names and location of continents, the Pacific Ocean, the Amazon, the Rocky Mountains, France or India. Instead, they will “describe places and regions, explaining how they are influenced by power structures.” (Std. 14)
- The standards’ vision of Social Studies as a narrative of “oppression” seems geared, in large part, toward preparing students for political activism, and what the second Ethnic Studies standard (Std. 24) calls “resistance.”
- The third draft’s focus on crime, policing and the juvenile justice system will likely generate fear and resentment in students of some racial/ethnic groups, and convince them that policing and criminality are “racially constructed.”
- MDE claims the vision of Social Studies enshrined in the third draft will “rigorously” prepare Minnesota’s young people for college and career. Not likely.
Click here to view a full analysis of the third draft by American Experiment Senior Policy Fellow Katherine Kersten.
Join the Debate
Engage directly with the Office of Administrative Hearings through their open comment process. Commenters can join an ongoing discussion Minnesotans are having about the current draft of the standards. You can even attach documents to your comments as you make your argument. The Administrative Law Judge will read all of the comments before making a decision. Click here to create a profile and join the discussion. This comment period closes on January 14, 2022.
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IlluminEd’s parent hub and resource center aim to inform, support, and connect Minnesota parents so they can counter ideologies that are harming our students. We believe the surest path to “equity,” and the progress we all seek, is a great education.
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Parents across Minnesota are sharing information and working together to hold schools accountable.
In the Summer 2021 issue of Thinking Minnesota, Katherine Kersten and Catrin Wigfall provide unparalleled analysis of how progressives want to rewrite how students learn about their American heritage.
Woke revolution looms for Minnesota schools
Star Tribune Op-Ed by American Experiment Senior Policy Fellow Katherine Kersten
Originally published by the Center of the American Experiment