Today is the day we celebrate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, no longer mentioned by the Minnesota social studies standards, and which were given an F grade by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their poor teaching of the civil rights movement. As we remember this important day in American history, Education Liberty Watch wishes to express its profound gratitude to the hundreds of parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens, as well as the experts, legislators, attorneys, and groups that participated in the public hearing and comment process for the Minnesota social studies standards. 364 of you signed our petition in five days. Eleven legislators, listed and some quoted below, including Senate Minority Leader David Hann, made formal comments opposing the standards, while none commented in support of them. Four current or past college professors submitted formal comments against these standards and another wrote in the Star Tribune on Jan. 18th even after the formal comment period had closed. The Department of Education responded to the comments received by January 9th. Education Liberty Watch provided a rebuttal to their response as did Representatives Sondra Erickson and Kelby Woodard, Dr. John Fonte, and American Principles in Action, all showing how the Department failed to adequately respond to the myriad concerns raised. It is now up to the judge who must decide by about February 15th whether the rule containing the standards is acceptable. Stay tuned!
Meanwhile as Minnesota fights against the revisionist history and further implementation of the Common Core standards via the link to the English standards, citizens are taking up the battle against big government education in Indiana. More than 500 people came during work and school to a rally opposing that state’s Common Core standards in English and math. Senator Scott Schneider has introduced a bill (SB 193) to withdraw Indiana from the Common Core standards. After the rally there was a four and a half hour hearing. The vote that was expected in the Senate Education Committee on January 23rd has been moved. We will alert you when we know. (Local media coverage is available here). Please see below for details on contacting the Indiana Senate Education Committee.
In addition, the Idaho House Education Committee heard more testimony against the Common Core and teachers are speaking out about the destruction of math and English teaching, their professionalism, autonomy, and creativity. As with Obamacare, the Common Core will have to be resisted on the state level. Please continue to join us in this fight!
Thanks to you, we are well on our way to collecting hundreds of signatures to present to the judge calling for a halt to the horrific proposed social studies standards. However, we have also received reports that some people were having trouble finding the link to the petition in our last email. So, just to be clear, the dedicated link is:
There are buttons on that site to post the petition link to your followers on Facebook and Twitter. We would be grateful if you would do that as well. We will stop collecting petition signatures at 10 AM CST on January 9th in order to be able to get the letter and signatures ready to submit. The deadline for submitting written comments to Judge Nielson at email@example.com is 4:30 PM CST on January 9th. A link to the standards and other details may be found here. The standards of greatest concern to us may be found here. The hearing report contains some of the excellent testimony. See below for more quotes and links to other testimony to which we have received access, as well as Education Liberty Watch and Dr. Karen Effrem in the media. Thanks and please keep it up!!
“…As a college professor, I agree with Dr. Debbi Daniels, who has stated that these revised standards will not equip students for college. Minnesota statutes require that public education prepare students for college, but these new standards will fail to fulfill that legislative mandate…”
“…In summary, the current standard covering the American Revolution concisely summarizes that historic episode, whereas the proposed revision introduces error and confusion…”
“… Suffice it to say, the proposed revisions are academically inferior to the current standards. The Minnesota Department of Education has claimed in its SONAR document to have followed the pattern of several states that it identifies as “exemplary.” But the standards of those “exemplary” states in fact include Western Civilization as a key organizing principle and assign specific standards to the Renaissance and Reformation.
I also concur with Mrs. Quist, who emphasized the distinction between natural rights and so called individual rights. Natural rights are part of human nature, whereas individual rights can be created or destroyed by government. One person who understood this well was John F. Kennedy. I quote from his inaugural address, where he asserted that “the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” Kennedy understood natural rights just as surely as Jefferson and Lincoln. The current standards teach this; the new revisions do not.
Moreover, I maintain that the Department of Education has failed to meet the required burden of proof to demonstrate that the proposed changes are either necessary or appropriate from a legal standpoint. The SONAR document insinuates that Minnesota will lose federal funding unless these new standards are adopted, but the Department has failed to show that the current standards fall short of federal and state requirements (other than the relatively simple matter of changing grade bands into grade-level benchmarks) or that these particular revision proposals are the most prudent means of complying with federal or state requirements.”
“I believe American students should be competitive, and should rate at the top of the list compared to other countries. Sadly, currently we fall somewhere in the middle of the pack. Instead of these pro-global and anti-American standards why don’t we raise the ceiling and the floor of the current student academic achievement? Instead of touting pro-globalism, why don’t we emphasize and return to the values, morals, and principles upon which our Republic was founded? In just over 200 years, Americans have made more progress than the entire human race has done in over 5000 years. I propose that we concentrate on educating our students and developing their skills so they become more disciplined, responsible, and productive Americans, instead of more effective global citizens “
“I am not suggesting that American history should be cleansed of the sins of our past. One of the most healing and encouraging developments in U.S. History instruction in the past ten years is the introduction of detailed instruction on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the concurrent distinguished U.S. military service of many Japanese Americans. As a History Day judge in the Wayzata School District, I have been gratified to see that student projects about these topics portray both injustice and justice, and how even a community oppressed by racism and bigotry can remain steadfastly patriotic, even challenging the majority to live up to the American ideals of The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and our Founders.
I implore the Department of Education to teach Minnesota’s youth about the ideals of our country’s founding, and challenge them to live up to those ideals. As Ronald Reagan said, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.’ Such instruction will also protect future generations from oppression. As Karl Marx is credited with saying, ‘Take away a people’s heritage and they are easily persuaded.'”
The Late Debate 1/4/13 (first segment) on Twin Cities Newstalk AM 1130
The Northern Alliance Radio Network with Mitch Berg 1/5/13 (at about halfway thru the first hour) on AM 1280 the Patriot
The Sue Jeffers Show 1/5/13 (Starting at 33:14) on Twin Cities Newstalk AM 1130
Minnesota Social Studies Standards: Critics Target Changes 12/19/12 by Megan Boldt St. Paul Pioneer Press
The petition letter (http://edlibertywatch.org/social-studies-standards-petition/) opposing the proposed Minnesota social studies standards to administrative law judge Barbara Nielson is now ready to be signed. We will collect signatures and then forward them with the letter to the judge, who will accept this letter and signatures as written testimony. It will only take a couple of minutes. Please sign, including your full name and address, which will not be visible on our website and share with your social networks. The deadline is Wednesday, January 9th at 4:30 PM Central Time. You do not need to be a Minnesota resident to sign the letter. If you wish to submit your own individual testimony, you may email it to the judge at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to reference OAH Docket No. 11-1300-30011 in your comments.
Other details and some of the testimony against the standards are available here and here. Some other testimony that we did not have is available from the hearing here. Other written testimony will also be up on this site very soon. Thank you for your support and help!
Many thanks to all who were able to give oral testimony at the December 20th social studies standards hearing. The large hearing room at the Minnesota Department of Education building was nearly full. The vast majority of testifiers were overwhelmingly opposed to the new standards. Witnesses were armed with facts and passionate eloquence. Department officials seemed surprised and a little dismayed at the level, intensity and detail of the opposition. Although we do not have all the testimony that was presented, we were able to obtain some of it from those that graciously provided it. See below for links and quotes from some of this excellent testimony. In addition, negative comments about the standards are coming in from several important groups and individuals. The judge has granted the full 20 days period for written comments, meaning the record will close on January 9th. Details for submitting written comments may be found here. If you cannot do written comments, we will have more information about a petition just after Christmas. Thank you for your support! May all of the joys and blessings of Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year come to you and yours.
Witnesses against the standards included parents, grandparents, business owners, a former citizen of communist Poland, two college professors, a former AP biology teacher, and two legislators. Education Liberty Watch’s testimony was delivered by attorney Marjorie Holsten.
In addition, there have been important comments from the Minnesota House Republican leadership, new commentary from Dr. John Fonte of the Hudson Institute as we previously mentioned, and important testimony from the American Principles Project about the link of these social studies to the Common Core English standards. All of these are also quoted and linked below.
As witnessed by the length of time it has taken to get out this report, we know it is very busy this time of year. To that end, we hope to introduce some sort of petition mechanism to help you weigh in against these awful standards and still spend this important time with your family and friends. More news will be forthcoming.
Finally, we do know that it is a busy time of year and this is a bad economy, but there are monetary costs to the work that we do. Any tax deductible financial help that can be directed to Education Liberty Watch as you consider your year end giving so that we may continue to stand for academic excellence, perpetuating our republic and protecting the rights of parents to raise their children would be most appreciated.
ORAL TESTIMONY QUOTES AND LINKS:
“Based on the forgoing as well as the more detailed information we will submit, we believe that for the sake of academic rigor, the cultural literacy and ability of Minnesota students to function as citizens able to maintain the freedoms of our republic, the fulfillment of legislative intent, and state autonomy, that these standards should be rejected or at least significantly modified and that the 2004 standards should be kept until that happens. Thank you.”
“Finally as a newly elected legislator about to be sworn in for the first time, it pains me to see violations of legislative intent, as well as how state sovereignty is being violated in education both by the mandates of No Child Left Behind and the creeping imposition of a national curriculum via the linking of the Common Core English standards to the social studies standards.”
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