Are the concerns of 5,000 Minnesotans ‘white supremacy’?

The Minnesota Standards Review Committee held an all-day virtual public meeting on Monday, January 11 to discuss public feedback on the first draft of proposed revisions to the state’s K-12 academic standards in social studies and, based on the public feedback, to “determine what (if any) minor/major adjustments need[ed] to be made.”

But the meeting outcomes were not realized. While feedback from certain organizational partners was heard, public feedback submitted by around 6,000 individual Minnesotans was not reviewed.

Five thousand of those comments were submitted in a letter format by the public through the Center’s “Raise Our Standards MN” campaign, expressing concern over the first draft’s elimination of many important aspects of history and civics.

Instead of discussing the specific concerns the letter identified and the specific changes the letter suggested, Director of Academic Standards Doug Paulson dismissed the voices of real Minnesotans by labeling their concerns in the letter as “white supremacy language.” No parts of the letter were referenced or quoted to support what the supposed “white supremacy language” was.

Committee member Danyika Leonard asked whether the committee should just do a “select-all delete sort of thing” to the comments submitted by 5,000 Minnesotans.

Committee member Kevin Lindsey “strongly advised the committee” to not delete the comments, with Doug Paulson adding that the response to the feedback was “not select-all delete” but that “there is a lot of other really important feedback” that “connects” to what they “know is best practices, what we have evidence [of] is best practices.”

Here is the first draft of the proposed social studies standards, and here are the top five areas of concern the Center identified within this first draft. The second draft was originally planned to be released for public review and comment on February 17, but that timeline is expected to be pushed back.

The Center will continue following this revision process and analyzing future drafts to advocate for state standards that are balanced and rigorous.

For reference, below is the letter thousands of Minnesotans submitted to the Minnesota Standards Review Committee as part of the public feedback process solicited by the state’s Department of Education.