Raise Our Standards
Minnesota’s radical social studies standards are one step closer to law – unless we fight back.
Tim Walz’s Department of Education is trying to convince an administrative law judge that their re-write of standards is “needed” and “reasonable.”
Bureaucrats at MDE are arguing for a “shift away” from standards “that list a set of content students are expected to know” to standards that focus “on the underlying concepts and skills” of social studies education.
In other words, Critical Race Theory is more important than facts!
There are several ways to fight back.
Sign the petition!
Use the form below to tell the administrative law judge that standards should be clear and concise, focus on facts, and avoid divisive and political language.
UPDATE: Public Comment Period Open Now
Thank you to everyone who attended the public hearings on November 8 and 9. You now have until Wednesday, November 29, at 4:30 PM to submit a Post-Hearing Comment to the administrative law judge.
You can submit your comment through the Office of Administrative Hearings’ website. Learn more about what to focus your comments on here.
What should I say in my public comment?
Because the judge is weighing whether the proposed social studies standards comply with the statutory requirements for revising academic standards, American Experiment encourages public comments to focus on these requirements and point out procedural inconsistencies
- First, academic standards must be clear, concise, objective, measurable, and grade-level appropriate. There are numerous examples of poorly written and impossible to measure standards throughout the draft.
- Second, the addition of ethnic studies as a strand of social studies, despite it not being included in the state’s definition of social studies, introduces standards that also appear to contradict how academic standards should be written.
- Third, Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.021, subdivision 2 clearly states the commissioner must consider advice from parents of school-aged children, members of the public and representatives of the Minnesota business community. Since these groups were absent from the committee preparing the drafts, their work product has been legally flawed from the beginning.
Below are some examples of standards that do not appear to meet those goals.
Currently, a citizenship and government standard is as follows:
The United States is based on democratic values and principles that include liberty, individual rights, justice, equality, the rule of law, limited government, common good, popular sovereignty, majority rule and minority rights.
Under the proposed changes, it now reads as follows:
Subp. 2. Citizenship and government.
B. Democratic Values and Principles: The student will explain democratic values and principles that guide governments, societies, and communities and analyze the tensions within the United States constitutional government.
Here is a proposed geography standard:
Subp. 4. Geography.
E. Culture: The student will investigate how a sense of place is impacted by different cultural perspectives.
It is not clear what is meant by “sense of place” or how teachers will be expected to interpret that.
Subp. 6. Ethnic studies.
A. Identity: The student will analyze the ways power and language construct the social identities of race, religion, geography, ethnicity, and gender. The student will apply understandings to one’s own social identities and other groups living in Minnesota, centering those whose stories and histories have been marginalized, erased, or ignored.
This standard is training students to view themselves and society primarily in terms of race and group identity, which is not objective or politically neutral. Using language such as “centering,” “marginalized,” “erased,” “ignored” deal with ideological framing and are not objective.
Subp. 6. Ethnic studies.
B. Resistance: The student will describe how individuals and communities have fought for freedom and liberation against systemic and coordinated exercises of power locally and globally. … The student will organize with others to engage in activities that could further the rights and dignity of all.
Preparing students for political activism and to “resist” our nation’s fundamental institutions is not objective and is beyond the scope of what we should expect from academic standards. Additionally, there is an assumption that children have the requisite knowledge on what constitutes “systemic and coordinated exercises of power.”
Subp. 6. Ethnic studies.
C. Ways of Knowing and Methodologies: The student will…apply lessons from the past in order to eliminate historical and contemporary injustices.
How do you measure the elimination of an injustice? And who decides that it has, in fact, been eliminated? This standard is not measurable, nor is it concise because of its broad ask.
Get involved at the local level
Regardless of what version of standards gets sent to school districts for implementation, school boards have the authority to select curriculum and instructional materials.
Additionally, parents and community members should ask their school boards about serving on a district’s advisory committee, which helps plan and improve the instruction and curriculum affecting state and district academic standards. “Whenever possible, parents and other community residents must comprise at least two-thirds of advisory committee members.”
Minnesota Department of Education’s Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR)