105 Peavey Rd, Ste 116
Chaska, MN 55318 952-361-4931
March 10, 2004
A. Some changes remove the understanding that the principles stated in the Declaration of Independence are genuine and universal. Some changes reflect the idea that the principles of the Declaration may have been fine for people who lived 200 years ago, but they do not necessarily apply to us today. That is, national sovereignty, the right to life, property rights and the like were believed by the early Americans, but that was then, and now is now. The following changes move us in that direction:
1. p. 15/Grade 5 Removes: "Students will explain that Lincoln's understanding of the founders' principles includes that the principles of the Declaration of Independence are universal and applicable to all people at all times." This is the only place in the standards that students would have learned the concept of the principles of the Declaration being true for all people at all times.
2. Same page Removes: "The student will understand how the Civil War re-formed a national government guided by the Declaration's principles." In its place is, "The student will understand how the Civil War gave rise to a new respect for the Declaration's principles." Both of these changes were encouraged by Erich Martel who admitted to not believing that the principles of the Declaration guide our government.
3. p. 8/Grade 3 Removes: "identify a statesman as a civic leader concerned with keeping government and civil society true to the principles and practices of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."
It is replaced with an example only, as an example of character traits of statesmen such as Washington and Lincoln, and it is stated as, "civic leaders who were true to the principles and ideals of the Declaration of Independence." Therefore, the definition of a civic leader is removed.
This suggestion was from Erich Martel who states in his radical views in his review of the proposed standards, "The Declaration is only symbolically a founding document.. It has no legal status and establishes no rights..." http://education.state.mn.us/content/064322.pdf p. 25
B. 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). The message is, our founding principles not only fail to apply to us today, they were all matters of great controversy anyway.
2. p. 36/Grade 9-12 Adds: a new benchmark: "Students will describe the choices facing people living in the colonies brought about by the revolution, and explain why people were divided over whether to take up arms against the British and the sacrifices they faced in making those decisions."
3. p. 57/Grades 9-12 Adds: "and why there was debate over ratification of the Constitution and the appeal for a Bill of Rights" to the benchmark, "explain why the Constitution replaced the Articles of confederation."
C. The comparisons between the principles of American system of government and other systems of government are diluted.
1. p. 23/Grade 6 Removes: "Students will understand the key features of the American and French Revolutions, and compare and contrast these events. " A similar benchmark exists in grades 9-12 (p. 50). This deletion in Grade 6 removes this fundamental comparison from the standards in the elementary grades.
2. p. 59/Grades 9-12 Changes: The benchmark is restated: Original: "Students will compare and contrast the American system with the different philosophies and structures of socialism, communism, monarchies, and parliamentary systems in terms of their economic, social structures and human rights practices."
New: "Students will compare and contrast the ideals and practices of the American political and economic systems to those of other political systems, including socialism, communism, monarchies and parliamentary systems, in terms of their economic system, social structures, and human rights practices."
Political and economic "philosophies" (that is, principles) have become "ideals and practices."
D. Language is added to tilt the standards in a more negative direction regarding America. There are plenty of negative details about our country in the standards already.
1. p. 21/Grade 6 Adds: example: "internment of conscientious objectors in Sandstone Prison" to the benchmark, "describe Minnesota's contributions to World War II and the impact of the war on Minnesota." Including this example is making a choice to elevate its significance in the standards beyond its merit. This is a Martel suggestion.
E. "Land Use" issues are added. There are already several references to land use in the standards. These are substantive add-ons to Citizen Committee approach;
1. p. 10/Grade 4 Adds: "land use" in examples of comparing and contrasting Eurasian cultures.
2. p. 22/Grade 6 Adds: "land use" issues are introduced where they were not present.
3. p. 63/Grades 9-12 Adds: "analyze issues related to land use" to a benchmark that already addresses land use: "explain the variations in economic activity and land use within the state of Minnesota."
F. Process or methodology words are added that are not objective or testable, as state law requires. Certain controversial teaching methodology asserts that students only learn as it relates to their own lives (constructivism). These were major components of the Profile of Learning:
1. p. 1/Grade K Adds: "and will predict consequences that follow…"
2. p. 2/ Grade 1 Adds: "related to their own lives…"
3. p. 4/Grade 2 Adds: "explain the challenges they faced and how they dealt with them" - Strand I and IV.
4. p.7/Grade 3 Change from "learn examples of Indian Nations," to "compare ways of life of Indian Nations…'
5. p. 18/Grade 5 Changes: The verb "understand" becomes "explain."
6. p. 18/Grade 5 Changes: The verb "know" becomes "explain."
7. p. 22/Grade 6 Change: The verb "understand" becomes "explain."
8. p. 31/Grade 7 Adds: "predict consequences" to "compare and contrast concepts of competition and monopoly."
G. Non-specific analysis requirements are added that are not testable and that steer the standards toward a controversial or partisan worldview:
2. p. 22/Grade 6 Adds: "…and issues related to those changes."
3. p. 23/Grade 6 Changes: The straightforward benchmark is restated to become a standard for diversity training.
Original: "Students will identify explorers and locate their routes of exploration."
New: "Students will identify explorers and examine the effects of exploration as it relates to contact between societies with different religions, values, and structures."
4. p. 28/Grade 7 Adds: "United Farm Workers' Movement" as part of "changing patterns of society, expanded educational and economic opportunities for military, veterans, women, and minorities."
5. p. 42/Grades 9-12 Adds: "and assess the significance of" to the benchmark, "Students will describe key people and events in the civil rights movement … and analyze their impact."
6. p. 52/Grades 9-12 Adds: "and the current-day significance of the oil reserves in this region" to the benchmark "analyze how Middle Eastern protectorate states ach