Today: Senate hearing on proposed social studies standards

Today (Monday) at 3 p.m., the Committee on Education Finance and Policy will have a hearing on the proposed Minnesota K-12 social studies standards. The virtual hearing will be live-streamed on the Center’s Facebook page and can also be viewed here on the committee’s YouTube channel.

Based on state law, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is required to review and revise state standards every 10 years. This year, it’s the 2011 social studies standards turn. These academic standards are intended to set the expectations for achievement in social studies for K-12 students in the state. The Minnesota Department of Education defines social studies as “the interdisciplinary study of citizenship and government, economics, geography, history, and other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.” While Minnesota does not have a statewide assessment in social studies, state statute requires that all public school students in Minnesota “satisfactorily” complete all social studies standards and their corresponding benchmarks in order to graduate.

After comparing the 2020 first draft of social studies standards to the 2011 social studies standards (which are currently in place), there are several concerning omissions, revisions, and additions regarding the proposed social studies content that our K-12 students will or will not learn. You can read about the top 5 areas of concern here.

As required by state statute, MDE solicited public comment on the first draft. Around 6,000 comments were submitted, with over 80 percent of the feedback facilitated by the Center’s Raise Our Standards MN campaign.

But the Walz-appointed standards review committee was rather dismissive of the first round of input from the public, with the director of academic standards calling the concerns Minnesotans raised in the letters they sent to MDE “white supremacy language,” and another committee member wondering whether those thousands of comments should just be deleted.

Watch below for a short video that captures the committee’s dismissal of concerns from those with differing views and the academic director’s plan to move forward with their agenda regardless of the feedback received.