To understand the new social studies standards, just look at who wrote them (Part 2)

Earlier this week I wrote about the over-sized influence of Native American groups on the first draft of academic standards for social studies. Gov. Walz stacked the committee with representatives from the education cartel (teachers and school district staff), Native Americans and people representing liberal groups fighting for their version of “equity.”

We are a long way from Minnesota’s first attempt at social studies standards, created in 2003 by Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke. She put together a social studies standards committee representing teachers, parents, higher education and business.

This year’s committee admittedly made a “shift in approach to standards and social studies learning,” creating a document that fails to celebrate American exceptionalism.

Once you realize the makeup of the committee, you begin to understand why the social studies document is packed with controversial and hard to measure topics like bias, inclusion, gender marginalization and “persistent discrimination and inequity.”

Five members of the committee represent groups with mission statements that promote equity and inclusion.

Jonathan Hamilton represents Education Liberation Minnesota.

The goal of Ed Lib MN is to be a political force in the state of MN to contend with the status quo of colonial education that prioritizes Eurocentric curricula, predominantly white educators and administrators, and a persistent attack on the power of communities to be self-determined.

The state of Minnesota occupies Dakota and Anishinabe [sic] land. It has been and become home to many Indigenous peoples. Minnesota exists on sacred and stolen Dakota land, where communities continue to fight each day for survival. Indigenous justice and land rights are a core component of the educational struggle that confronts us.

Jose Alvillar represents Navigate MN

Navigate MN is an immigrant-led, multigenerational, Latinx based community non-profit organization 501 C(3) that builds power for gender, racial and economic justice.

Our campaign priorities are: community defense under a deportation state, full Latinx census count participation, new voter turn out for 2020, ethnic studies for all Minnesotans, fully funded public schools, 100% renewable energy and youth leadership development.

Danyika Leonard represents Education Evolving

In presenting this definition of equity, we recognize and acknowledge that significant disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes exist among students based on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, special needs, English language proficiency, sexual orientation, and geography, which result from a history of systemic, economic, political, and moral inequity.

Kevin Lindsey represents the Minnesota Humanities Council, the press release announcing his hiring at the Humanities Council said:

“Kevin has a passion for inclusion for all, building a stronger democracy, and leveraging the power of personal stories. His innovative spirit, business acumen, and experience championing equity will help expand and grow MHC’s statewide impact.”

Regina Seabrook represents Equity Alliance Minnesota

Equity Alliance MN has been leading educational equity work for over 25 years. We work WITH organizations to support systemic equity and integration through careful and intentional use of professional development; external supports, including equity audits, facilitation and action planning; and student programming.

We believe that race and culture fundamentally shape and influence our core values, our thinking, our policies and our practices.

The focus on equity from representatives of these organizations will turn the classroom into a place where individual responsibility and individual success for that matter are subjugated to the rights of sub-groups. Identity politics spends too much energy righting historical wrongs and gives young people an excuse to fail – “It’s not your fault, society is against you.”

George Bush once called it the soft bigotry of low expectations. This approach will not prepare Minnesota students for success in the world.