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Legislative update

Friday, August 13, 2021

Dear Neighbor, The state is in the process of developing new standards that will determine the lessons in social studies, civics, history, and government classes Minnesota children will receive for the next decade. This issue is crucial for the future of our children – and society in general – and I encourage people to keep up to speed with what is being proposed and participate in a survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Education to let your thoughts be known before the deadline at 4 p.m. Monday. More on how to do that in a minute, first a bit more about the social studies standards themselves as the process of developing them continues: The first draft of the social studies standards was released last December and it looked a political statement focused on identity politics that would put kids in “buckets” and divide our population.  The second draft was released July 30 and it looks like a watered-down version of the first draft. You won’t find the words “Critical Race Theory” in the text, but bits and pieces of CRT are scattered throughout the proposal. One proposed benchmark instructs our children to “Examine the benefits and consequences of power and privilege on issues associated with poverty, income, and the accumulation of wealth.” Ethnic studies has been added as one of five major educational strands – right alongside legally required lessons on citizenship and government, economics, geography, and U.S and world history. There are no references anywhere in the standards to key historical figures like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and no direction on how to examine key historical figures even as the far-left attempts to “cancel” even our country's greatest Presidents and leaders.While you won’t find any mention of the Emancipation Proclamation, there are four references to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. And free-market capitalism and communism are presented as equal economic ideas to be examined without any context of the atrocities committed under communist regimes.In other words, these social studies standards would place equal outcomes ahead of equal opportunity in lessons to our children.If you are interested in exploring this further, a link to the full second draft is available here. An FAQ in this issue is available here: And you can participate in the standards survey by clicking here. Again, the survey deadline is 4 p.m. Monday.This would be a good place to note that, at last check, there is a snafu at the end of the survey because, well, of course there is. After you have finished answering the survey questions, a text bar prompts you to choose the “Done” button below. Great, except people are not seeing a “Done” button below. If that is the case, click on the bar which tells you to click the “Done” button. You may have to repeat this process twice.Bottom line: Our children’s education is best served by parents playing an active role in the decision-making process. This is one of those times we need to step up and make sure our voices are heard before it’s too late and these statewide standards are adopted sometime this fall.Sincerely, Shane 


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