Browsing articles in "Curriculum + Standards"
Dec 13, 2012
ELW

Details for Dec. 20th Social Studies Standards Hearing

Thank you again to all who submitted a hearing request on the Minnesota Social Studies Standards.  Below is the detailed information for either appearing at the hearing and or submitting written testimony. Final details on big areas of concern will follow in the next emails.  Please consider choosing one or two areas of interest or concern as your time allows during this busy time of year.  Thank you for caring about the future of Minnesota’s children!

The following information is quoted from the Dual Notice, the hearing notice, or phone calls or emails to the judge’s office or the Department of Education.  The standards alone are available here. The standards with the benchmarks are available here. The Department of Education’s justification for the standards is here (SONAR).

Reasons to oppose them are available at the following links and more details on specific standards will follow in the next email:

Social Studies Hearing Request of Dr. Ryan MacPherson

Celebrate Thanksgiving by Preserving Good Social Studies Standards – Request a Hearing! 

Please Help Change Minnesota’s Social Studies Standards for the Good 

Comments Submitted for Final Draft of Minnesota Social Studies Standards  

Comments on US History Standards from an Attorney and Teacher of the Constitution 

National Association of Scholars Review of MN Social Studies Standards

John Fonte Review of Minnesota Social Studies Standards 

Southern Poverty Law Center Review 

Please Comment!! Social Studies Standards Continue Disastrous Course in Final Draft!  

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

 

ORAL TESTIMONY – Those that wish to and are able to appear at the hearing may do so as follows:

Come as close as possible to 9 AM on December 20th to room CC-15, Minnesota Department of Education, 1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville, Minnesota, 55113. Although you do not need to be there immediately at 9:00, the judge will only stay as long as there are people signed up to testify. If you want to give testimony, but do not think that you can be there in the morning, then we would recommend submitting written testimony (see below). The judge will have a sign-in sheet for those that wish to speak and will divide the time among those that want to give oral comments, so we cannot predict how long each person will be able to speak. Although each speaker may be given a longer time to speak, and if there are many people there, it is possible that less time will be given, five to seven minutes is a good rule of thumb. If you have complex information, please summarize it in your oral presentation and then bring the details in written form (again, see below). The hearing may go as long as 4:00, but it truly depends on how many people can attend.

WRITTEN TESTIMONY – For those that are unable to attend the hearing or who wish to revise and extend their oral testimony, you may submit written testimony as follows:

There is no page limit, but all evidence presented must pertain to the proposed rules. Interested parties will have at least five working days to submit comments, which depending on whether or not December 24th and 31st are considered working days, comments would be due at 4:30 PM on December 28th or 31st, 2012, or January 2nd, 2013. In addition, at her discretion, Judge Barbara Neilson, may at the hearing, order for the comment period to be extended up 20 calendar days or to January 9th, 2013. Following the comment period, there is a five-working-day rebuttal period when the agency and any interested person may respond in writing to any new information submitted. No one may submit additional evidence during the five-day rebuttal period.

Written comments MUST be received by 4:30 PM on whatever due date is decided by the judge. They may be sent to:

Judge Barbara Nielson

EMAIL: rulecomments@state.mn.us with OAH 11-1300-30011 – Rules-Social Studies Academic Standards in the subject line

 OR US MAIL:

Office of Administrative Hearings

600 North Robert Street P.O. Box 64620

St. Paul, MN 55164-0620

OR FAX: 651-361-7936

Judge Nielson may be reached at 651-361-7845 if you have any questions. You do not have to be a Minnesota resident to submit written testimony.

If at all possible, please send copies of your written comments to office@edlibertywatch.org either by BLIND COPY or as a FORWARD after you have submitted them. Thank you very much.

The agency requests that any person submitting written views or data to the Administrative Law Judge before the hearing or during the comment or rebuttal period also submit a copy of the written views or data to the agency contact person at the address stated above.  [Kerstin Forsythe Hahn at the Department of Education, 1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville, Minnesota, 55113, phone: 651-582-8583, email: Kerstin.forsythe@state.mn.us. TTY users may call the Department of Education at 651-582-8201.]

Dec 1, 2012
ELW

Thanks & Congratulations! On to the Social Studies Standards Hearing!

Congratulations and thank you very much to all of you who took your precious time to help preserve the teaching of American principles and heritage of freedom! Your hard work has paid off! The scheduled December 20th hearing on the Minnesota social studies standards will proceed. Please see below for details. Both to those who sent in a request who may wish to add more information and to those that care about this issue but were not able to submit a request, please know that you may attend the hearing and give oral testimony or submit written testimony that day or while the hearing record is open. More information will soon follow.

The hearing requests that were sent to us contained many excellent reasons for opposing these standards.  As an example, here is a quote from the chairman of History at Bethany Lutheran College, Professor Ryan MacPherson’s request posted with his permission (the full request is available here):

As a college professor who instructs students pursuing Minnesota licensure for elementary and secondary education, I am concerned that the 2011 proposal will not adequately ensure that K-12 schools meet the stated objectives of preparing the rising generation for citizenship, higher education, and employment. My specialty is American history, including constitutional law. I am alarmed that the 2011 proposal removes references to the natural, inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property and that the 2011 proposal also loses the emphasis, present in the 2004 rules, that it is government’s chief purpose to secure these natural rights. The 2004 rules, attentive to the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, included these fundamental principles in multiple Benchmarks and Examples. To consider another example, the 2011 proposal also entirely removes all references to Abraham Lincoln and to his Gettysburg address, topics which appeared in multiple required Benchmarks in the 2004 rules. Not only will high school graduates be under-prepared for American civic life without an understanding of these important aspects of our national heritage, but they also will be ill equipped for college coursework.

My concerns about the 2011 proposal are not limited to American history and government. The 2011 proposal surprisingly relegates the Renaissance to a merely optional Example, whereas in 2004 the Renaissance appeared in multiple mandatory Standards and Benchmarks; the 2004 rules in fact classified several Standards under the title “Renaissance and Reformation,” whereas the 2011 proposal marginalizes both of these important movements of world history and requires, obliquely, that students “understand that hemispheric networks intensified as a result of innovations … [during the years] 600-1450,” a Standard for which not a single Benchmark specifically requires any knowledge whatsoever of the Renaissance. Strangely, the 2011 proposal adds as Examples a number of relatively obscure historical persons and events, while jettisoning all references, present in the 2004 Examples, to Confucius, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, Christopher Columbus, Leondardo da Vinci, Martin Luther, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, William Penn, Thomas Paine, Sacagawea, Chief Joseph, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Theodore Roosevelt, Adolph Hitler, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Mao Zedong, Margaret Thatcher, and Osama bin Ladin. Cultural literacy requires that a person be familiar with at least most of these individuals, who together represent a diverse spectrum of our international and American heritage. Such cultural literacy is foundational for multiple career paths, as well as for civic participation more broadly, not to mention a wide variety of college majors in the humanities and social sciences.

Continue reading »

Dec 1, 2012
ELW

Social Studies Hearing Request of Dr. Ryan MacPherson

30 November 2012
Kerstin Forsythe Hahn
Department of Education
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113
651-582-8583
Kerstin.forsythe@state.mn.us

SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR A HEARING CONCERNING THE
PROPOSED MINNESOTA K-12 ACADEMIC STANDARDS IN SOCIAL STUDIES

Dear Ms. Hahn:

I respectfully request a hearing concerning the proposed Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies 2011 (Rule-Making Draft, February 17, 2012). As requested in the notice of hearing, my name and address are provided above. I oppose the entire set of rules as they are presently drafted, with most of my concerns relating to the Subpart 1: Citizenship and
Government and Subpart 4: History; I desire that the 2004 rules be retained unless and until the 2011 proposal is amended.

As a college professor who instructs students pursuing Minnesota licensure for elementary and secondary education, I am concerned that the 2011 proposal will not adequately ensure that K-12 schools meet the stated objectives of preparing the rising generation for citizenship, higher education, and employment. My specialty is American history, including constitutional law. I am alarmed that the 2011 proposal removes references to the natural, inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property and that the 2011 proposal also loses the emphasis, present in the 2004 rules, that it is government’s chief purpose to secure these natural rights. The 2004 rules, attentive to the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, included these fundamental principles in multiple Benchmarks and Examples.  To consider another example, the 2011 proposal also entirely removes all references to Abraham Lincoln and to his Gettysburg address, topics which appeared in multiple required Benchmarks in the 2004 rules. Not only will high school graduates be under-prepared for American civic life without an understanding of these important aspects of our national heritage, but they also will be ill equipped for college coursework.

Continue reading »

Nov 21, 2012
ELW

Celebrate Thanksgiving by Preserving Good Social Studies Standards – Request a Hearing!

The nation is approaching the Thanksgiving holiday and the chance to reflect upon and give thanks for the many blessings and liberties that we still have and for which so many have sacrificed. Education Liberty Watch believes that one very appropriate way to celebrate is to preserve the teaching of the American heritage and American exceptionalism by requesting a hearing for the very flawed social studies standards discussed in our last alert.. Many thanks to those that have already sent in requests.  We are making good progress but need a few more to be able to have a hearing. Here are the requirements and a few reminders for a hearing request:

  • Hearing requests must be sent to Kerstin.forsythe@state.mn.us by 4:30 PM CST on Friday, November 30, 2012.
  • According to the Department of Education, to be considered valid, a request must contain the following three elements:
  1. A statement requesting a hearing on the proposed rules;
  2. Name and address; and
  3. A statement that you either 1) object to the rule in its entirety or 2) what specific parts/sections of the rule you object to. If you have any recommendations or  suggestions please include those as well.

Here are a few reasons to oppose the standards that you may incorporate into your hearing request or use in your comments if you choose:

General:

Overall lack of rigor with an emphasis on content free skills instead of teaching the content necessary to perform the skills Association with the Common Core English standards that have been reviewed to be only 6th to 8th grade level for the supposedly “college ready” high school standards
The word liberty is not mentioned as an unalienable right or in the context of the sacrifices made in its defense.
There is very little discussion of religion of any kind, either as the right of religious freedom  and how it was a major animating factor for the American Founding or as a source of motivation/conflict in World History except for Native Americans..
Securing inherent rights has made the America the freest, most prosperous, and most generous nation in the history of the world.  Yet the concept of American exceptionalism is completely absent from these standards.  Instead, there is an incredibly out of balance emphasis on the concept of America as an oppressive culture with an almost obsessive focus on racism, slavery and the wrongs done to the indigenous peoples.

Civics:

Failure to contrast God-given unalienable rights as stated in the Declaration of Independence and implemented in the Constitution with man or government-given rights as found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Failure to list or describe all of the 1st amendment rights, especially religion, except in the untested examples
No mentions, even in the examples, of patriotism

Economics:

Failure to properly contrast the deprivation, failure, and death associated with communism compared to the benefits of capitalism and free markets.
The standards are too neutral regarding the failure of government over-regulation

Geography:

There is too much emphasis on human geography without adequate study of physical geography.

U.S. History:

There are numerous examples of omissions of major people and events and bias, almost too numerous to mention
The alleged “institutional racism” of America is discussed at the standards level, but important liberty principles or positive events are mentioned either as untested examples or mentioned in the benchmarks, if at all.
American exceptionalism and the contributions that America has made in liberating millions of people from tyranny are not mentioned

World History

The important  contributions of Western Civilization are greatly minimized
Important topics like the Global War on Terror and the evils of communism are barely mentioned, if at all.
The long-standing dating convention of BC/AD is replaced by BCE/CE to remove reference to the most important historical figure of all time.

Any contribution that you can make on this front is incredibly appreciated.  THANK YOU!!