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The long-awaited second draft of Minnesota’s revised K-12 social studies standards will be available next week, according to an email from the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies. Following the release of the draft, a three-week public comment period will open.
The second draft was originally planned to be released in February, but after thousands of Minnesotans voiced concern over the first draft’s content through American Experiment’s Raise Our Standards awareness campaign, the Minnesota Department of Education and the Social Studies Standards Committee slowed down the revision process timeline.
A full committee meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, July 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and you can view the meeting here. The department may announce during this meeting that the second draft will be released next week. If you can’t view the meeting live, American Experiment will post it on our Facebook page for you to view at a later time.
The first draft replaced many important aspects of history and civics with controversial and hard to measure standards and benchmarks. Following public outcry, the Minnesota Department of Education walked back the significance of the first draft, stating that the first draft focused on standards instead of benchmarks and was about additions and revisions under consideration.
Even so, the language used to frame the first draft is concerning. History is presented as a one-dimensional power struggle, in which interest groups push competing, subjective “narratives” based on what the department identifies as “axes of stratification” such as skin color, class and sexuality. The department and the committee acknowledge that the first draft marks a “shift in approach to standards and social studies learning,” but a comparison with Minnesota’s original statewide social studies standards approved by the legislature in 2004 confirms this “shift” is in fact a revolution.
Minnesota’s K-12 academic standards identify the knowledge and skills required for all students to learn so they are set up for success in postsecondary education, skilled work and civic life. These social studies standards will be the statewide expectation for student learning in public schools over the next 10 years of students’ academic career, and it is critical there is accountability regarding what that content will be.
Watch the Raise Our Standards webpage for an analysis of the second draft’s content upon its release and how to submit public feedback.