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Follow-up on the "Third Draft" Alert

February 16, 2004

The "third draft" of the social studies standards became available on-line at 4:00 this afternoon. All day, callers were told by House education leaders that EdWatch issued a "false alarm" and that there were "no changes made to dilute or move back to the Profile of Learning standards." The fact of the matter is, numerous changes have been made that are substantive and that severely damage the standards.

Yesterday we told you, "If the committees' work is undermined, everything they did will be up for grabs." Substantive changes to the standards will open the door to all manner of changes!

Thank you very much for calling. Your involvement makes a huge difference at the Capitol.

With only a few hours to study the new draft, here are some examples of what we could immediately identify:

1. The standards written by the citizen committees had the following benchmark:

They removed this benchmark in the proposed draft. Such a change is obviously substantive. Why has it been removed?

This benchmark is extremely important because the education radicals say that the principles of the Declaration of Independence may have been fine for people who lived 200 years ago, but they do not necessarily apply to us today. That is, they say that national sovereignty, the right to life, property rights and the like were believed in by the early Americans, but that was then, and now is now. That is their position.

The above benchmark was the only place where the proposed standards stated that our foundational principles are timeless and apply to all people for all time. Don't all people have the God-given right to life? Totalitarian governments may not recognize this right, but it is still there. Removing this benchmark not only is a substantive change, it does very serious damage to the proposed standards. Removing this benchmark follows the radical's position. The citizen committees debated this benchmark extensively, and made a conscious decision to include it so that this knowledge would be passed on to our children.

The "third draft" further weakens the principles of the Declaration of Independence in at least two other places. The revisors removed, for example, the definition of a statesman (p. 8 ) as one promoting the Declaration's principles of liberty. They entirely deleted the important comparison and contrast between the American and French revolutions (p. 23). This change is no technicality!

What, then, does the "third draft" put in place of what was deleted? At three different locations the "third draft" adds "issues of controversy" to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (pp. 13, 36, and 57). That, again, is what the radicals want - our founding principles not only fail to apply to us today, they were all matters of great controversy anyway. That is their position.

These changes are not only substantive, they do substantial damage to the standards.

2. The "third draft" revisors add the following example to the "impact of the war [WW II] on Minnesota" (p. 21):

Once again, this is obviously not a technical correction. It is a substantive change. Why has this example been added? There are plenty of negative details about our country in the standards already. Why add more? The only reason for adding this language is to make the standards more negative toward America.There is no other justification. EdWatch supports balance. Ed Watch supports objectivity. We oppose adding standards, benchmarks and examples when they are added because they are negaitive toward American.

3. They have added to the 6th grade history standards the words:

Once again, this is not a technical change. It is a substantive change. There are numerous, significant issues that fall under "land use." Why should they be added? And why should they be added to the 6th grade? This is an entire new addition.

4. The citizen's committee's proposed World History standard said:

They eliminated the above benchmark in the "third draft" and replaced it with the following requirement:

This change, once again, is not technical. It is substantive. We have left the world of history and have entered the world of diversity training. (This is actually an old Profile of Learning standard.) Didn't the legislature repeal the Profile last year? Why is it being resurrected behind closed doors?

5. They replaced numerous knowledge-based requirements, such as the word "know," with process requirements, such as the words "analyze" and "predict." The question is, "Do we want "knowledge-based standards, or "process-based standards? " The old Profile standards were "process- based." Isn't that what was voted out last year?

The above changes are all substantive changes. They are only examples of the numerous substantive changes in the bill. With the little time we had, we found at least 20 pages with substantive changes.

None of the changes had the careful scrutiny that the citizen committee's proposal received.

This "third draft" must be rejected.

There are technical changes in the third draft of the social studies standards. But state leaders should not submit a draft to the committee as only technical changes and corrections of minor errors when it is actually much more than that.


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