Mar 3, 2011

Alert! New PC Social Studies Standards are a Disaster!!

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America is in a time of great economic and social upheaval.  Our constitutional rights are being trampled with frightening frequency and government is encroaching into ever increasingly large areas of our lives and those of our children. There is an alarming decline in the understanding by our nation’s youth and young adults of the basic workings of our government, the foundational principles of our republic and the precepts necessary to maintain our liberties purchased and preserved at such a precious cost.

Tragically, the new draft revision of the social studies standards for Minnesota’s public school students will not help to reverse any of these damaging trends.  In fact, the draft is a giant step backwards.  Even a cursory perusal shows that the politically correct, liberal, leftist elites are having a field day.  They are not just revising and tweaking, as the less than ideal legislation passed in 2003 allowed, but this is a wholesale leftist revision that should be opposed with great vigor.

The one good thing about the draft is that it refers to America as a republic instead of a democracy, which the founders explicitly rejected.  There are large parts of the draft for high school US and world history that are still “to be developed,” so things may change, but we are not confident given what is available for review.  Here are just some of the highlights (or more accurately, lowlights) of the draft:

·        The Declaration of Independence that first listed the principles of our republic such as God given unalienable rights and self-evident truth and that served as the cornerstone inspiration for our Constitution, is only mentioned twice and then, not after the fifth grade.

·        The draft removes the phrases found in the current standards that are found in the Declaration, such as,  “unalienable rights” and “self-evident truth” These were kept in the current standards after much struggle and wrangling with then DFL Senate Education Committee Chairman, Steve Kelley, who infamously said (at 31:09) during that contentious process:

I am not sure it is accurate, legally or historically to call the Declaration of Independence a founding document.

It seems as though there is an effort to make sure that students do not understand that our rights are inherent and God-given and not from government.

·        Use of the word “liberty” has been decreased from 18 incidents in the current standards to only one in the draft.  No longer will it be required that students be taught the meaning and importance of the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as some of our unalienable rights.  There is no discussion in the standards about the sacrifices so many have made to preserve that liberty. In fact, words like “valor,” “sacrifice,” and “defense” are not used at all.

·        Similarly, use of the word “freedom” has decreased from 13 times in the current standards to 4 times in the draft, all in relation to only racial freedom and equality.  There is no discussion of any other kind of freedom discussed in our Constitution or Bill of Rights, such as religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc. which are  inherent and unalienable, as described in the Declaration of Independence.

·        Although some of the names of the various strands and substands contain the word “religion,” The word “religious” is not used at all compared to the 21 times that it is used in the current standards.  There is no discussion in the standards of the fact that people have risked and still risk their lives to leave their countries to come to America for religious freedom.  There is no discussion of the religious influences, conflicts, persecution, etc. that were so important in the history of America.  In fact, there is a bias against it.  The Department’s document Assumptions for Guiding the Social Studies Standards Revision Process says:

The revised standards will not be based solely on the interpretation of religious texts and/or the influence of special interests, but on the preponderance of research that is commonly accepted throughout the social studies academic community.

·         That anti-religious bias seems to also play out in the decision to change the terms BC (Before Christ) to BCE (Before the Common Era) and AD (Anno Domini – Latin for “in the year of our Lord”) to CE (Common Era).  Whatever one’s views of Jesus Christ as a religious figure, it is hard to argue about the historical impact that His life and the religion named after Him had on the world and civilization, and it is an absurd idea to restructure the dating system that has been in use for centuries out of political correctness or religious bigotry.

·        The phrases “free markets” or “free market enterprise” found in the current standards have been removed in the draft.  Capitalism is mentioned only once in the draft, and then in a very negative light (“Examine the role authority and governance played in the progressive era in relation to addressing problems of industrial capitalism, urbanization and political corruption.”).  Apparently, the committee wants to make sure that the standards reflect the stunningly rapid destruction of free market capitalism that is taking place via the Obama administration and being attempted by the Dayton administration in Minnesota.

·        There are numerous times in the geography standards where the door is opened to environmental scaremongering and the “humans are evil and destroying the planet” mantra which is, unfortunately also a weakness in the current standards.

So what can be done to preserve the teaching of our American heritage of liberty and free market enterprise to our children? Here are at least three things that you can do right now:

1) Read this monstrosity for yourself and submit a public comment here. You have until March 14th.

2) Attend a townhall meeting and make your voices heard about the standards. The schedule is available here.

3) Call you legislators and voice your opposition to these standards. Ask them to support HF 511 by Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) by co-sponsoring and voting for the bill if they are in the House and sponsoring similar legislation if they are in the Senate. This legislation delays the review and revision of the social studies standards and requires legislative review of them before they are implemented.


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