Social studies standards in rulemaking process, more opportunities for feedback forthcoming

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has released three drafts of state K-12 social studies standards and benchmarks since beginning the formal revision process in 2020. The third draft, released in November 2021, initiated the statutory rulemaking process for the standards, as set out in Minnesota Statute. The full statutory rulemaking process can take up to 24 months.

American Experiment has closely analyzed the proposed standards and benchmarks, and we are deeply concerned they will take social studies education in the wrong direction. Please encourage anyone you know who cares about the future of our children to participate in the upcoming feedback opportunities.

Request for comments in State Register

The first step of the statutory rulemaking process was MDE publishing a Request for Comments in the State Register, which was then followed by a 60-day public comment period on the proposed standards language. The comment period closed on January 14, and hundreds of Minnesotans submitted feedback through the Office of Administrative Hearings’ e-comments system.

Prepare a Statement of Need and Reasonableness

The next step of the rulemaking process is MDE reviewing the public comments and drafting a Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR). The SONAR will be made available to the public, and will provide background on the proposed social studies standards and justify the need for the rulemaking. We are currently awaiting the completion of this statement, which has traditionally taken 14 to 17 months, according to the department.

Public provides input

Once the SONAR development is complete, there will be an opportunity for the public to provide input. American Experiment will keep you informed on this and provide other updates at RaiseOurStandardsMN.com.

Below is a graphic from MDE outlining the different steps in the statutory rulemaking process. As mentioned above, we are currently in the “Rule and SONAR Development” stage.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Final step: Notice of Adoption

The statutory rulemaking process will be complete when the Notice of Adoption is published in the State Register. If adopted, the proposed K-12 social studies standards will be implemented in the 2026-27 school year. School boards will be in charge of selecting curricula/textbooks to teach the standards and benchmarks.

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Questions about this process or how you can participate? Email me at Catrin.Wigfall@AmericanExperiment.org.