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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Friday, March 5, 2021

Dear Neighbors, 

I’ve heard from many of you that are concerned about the Minnesota Department of Education’s proposed social studies standards and the way they plan to reteach our history in an unprecedented way. If they are adopted, these standards will have long-term effects and a dramatic impact on the future of Minnesota.

The proposed social studies standards emphasize identity politics which only increases social tribalization into many small parts. Rather than seeking to create a more perfect union, these standards read as politically motivated with an underpinning of deconstructionism. 

First grade would entail teaching to recognize stereotypes, biased speech, and injustice at the institutional or systemic level. There is little to no celebration of American history, culture, or values. No exploration that despite our flaws, our nation remains a force for good.

The great good that America has done for so many people and countries is largely ignored. The fact that we saved Europe twice in world wars is not mentioned. But American imperialism and perceived racial injustice is emphasized.

While the experience of immigrants is explored in positive terms, as it should be, pioneers and those with European roots are cast only as villains.

Minnesota students deserve a well-rounded education that serves to educate students about our nation's history, not indoctrinate. The most recent draft of the social studies standards lacks balance and seems more focused on demonizing our country than giving students a proper historical perspective that recognizes America's contributions and successes throughout history. 

We can recognize America's tremendous accomplishments, as well as its mistakes. The current standards lean too heavily into a negative portrayal of our country, leaving students with critical missing pieces about all of the great things our country has fought for and accomplished throughout history. 

Thankfully, the Minnesota Department of Education announced in early February that they will delay the new social studies standards because of “significant” feedback from across Minnesota.

I am grateful that the writing of these standards has been delayed, thanks to the public outcry from thousands of Minnesotans. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant and continue to monitor this situation as it plays out.

For more information about these proposed standards and what they mean for students, I encourage you to read this Op-Ed that was published in the Star Tribune last week: https://www.startribune.com/woke-revolution-looms-for-minnesota-schools/600020000/ 

Staying in Touch

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns as it relates to state government. I can be reached at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

Have a great day,

Glenn

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