105 Peavey Rd, Ste 116
Chaska, MN 55318 952-361-4931
April 22, 2004
Status of Social Studies and Science Standards
Confirmation of Commissioner Yecke
Stillwater Boycott Fizzles as Bachmann Supporters Rally
Glimpse of what is happening in our schools
A.) Status of Social Studies and Science Standards:
A Senate floor vote to adopt new standards in science and social studies will be scheduled late NEXT WEEK or possibly even the following week. The vote is delayed because the standards are part of an "omnibus" education bill that addresses numerous other education issues (SF1774 in the Senate and HF1793 in the House).
This is a brief update of where we are.
The House passed House-proposed academic science and social studies standards which are now part of the House omnibus education bill (HF1793). Essentially, they passed a weakened version of the citizen committee social studies standards. They also passed House- proposed science standards which include an amendment to teach the full range of scientific data regarding scientifically controversial issues. This amendment includes teaching the scientific controversy surrounding evolution. (See our March 20th update.)
EdWatch supports the House science and social studies standards proposals.
The Kelley standards are illegitimate for three primary reasons.
1. The AUTHORS do not represent mainstream Minnesotans. They come from the leftist University of Minnesota professor crowd and social studies teachers aligned with the highly controversial Minnesota Council for Social Studies (MCSS). The MCSS is a self-appointed group of teachers affiliated with the national organization (NCSS) who wrote the "national standards." (The Profile of Learning curriculum was built from the NCSS national standards.) The public was not included in the process. (See, "Who Wrote the Kelley Standards?")
By excluding the public, the Senate violated the very mandates it placed upon Commissioner Yecke. By law, she was required to include a cross section of Minnesotans to advise her in creating new Minnesota standards. So why shouldn't the Senate follow the same mandate?
2. The PROCESS by which they were adopted is a sham. Kelley's' standards were written in secret, the authors were not revealed, and the amended standards appeared in the Senate Education Committee almost immediately before they were adopted by the DFL majority. The voting members could not possibly have read the revised standards they voted on, much less scrutinized them. They were never subjected to ANY public scrutiny or statewide hearings like the citizen standards. The authors' identities were only revealed AFTER receiving public pressure to do so, and AFTER the vote. (See update)
3. The CONTENT of the standards reflects the view of the educational elite. They do not reflect the views of mainstream Minnesotans. They eliminate two fundamental founding principles of our country; the teaching of national sovereignty and self-evident truth. They reflect an anti-Christian bias. They eliminate the terms "free market" or "free enterprise" in the study of our economic system. And they promote a multi-cultural approach to history that does not tell our students the truth about the western heritage of our nation.(See update.)
EdWatch opposes the Kelley standards, and urges the Senate to reject them. They urge the Senate to adopt the House version of the Citizen Social Studies Standards. They also urge the Senate to adopt the House amendment to the science standards that would teach the full range of scientific controversy on all scientific issues.
After the full Senate has voted, a conference committee between the House and the Senate will be appointed to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the Proposed social studies standards. If the House standards are further undermined in that conference committee, the resulting standards will reflect the same radical view of history and American government that Minnesotans objected to in the Profile of Learning. What happens in the next few weeks will determine if Minnesota has replaced the Profile of Learning content with real academic standards or simply ended up with the old Profile under a new name.
B.) Confirmation of Commissioner Yecke:
The DFL Senate Majority continues to hold Education Commissioner Yecke's confirmation hostage in order to have their way with the social studies standards. (See the first hearing report)
The 2nd committee hearing and vote will be next Tuesday, April 27th at 1:00 p.m. in Room 15 of the State Capitol. If Sen. Kelley's Education Committee votes AGAINST confirmation, her final confirmation would rest in the hands of the full Senate. That vote could be scheduled at any time, or not at all, leaving the Commissioner dangling. It is the DFL-controlled Senate's intent to wrest education policy authority away from the Governor. They would hold virtual veto power over the Commissioner's policies by having the power to pull her job at anytime.. If this sounds like corrupt politics, it is.
The architect of this strategy is the all too familiar Education Committee Chair Sen. Steve Kelley of Hopkins, who revealed his higher political aspirations in a recent article. See the Pioneer Press report.)
"Kelley won't say how he'll vote on Yecke when a vote is taken; it could come as early as Thursday. But her confirmation is widely expected to rise or fall with his decision because other members of the DFL majority are sure to follow their chairman's lead.
"He said last week that he is angling toward a second U.S. Senate campaign in 2008, a run that could put him up against GOP Sen. Norm Coleman."
Please take a moment to call your Senator and other members of the Minnesota Senate. Tell them to accept the House-proposed science and social studies standards. Tell them to confirm Commissioner Yecke. (See contact information)
C.) Stillwater Boycott Fizzles as Bachmann Supporters Rally
Senator Bachmann has led the charge in Minnesota against the radical changes in our schools. She also recognizes the terrible repercussions a redefinition of marriage will have on our schools. As we stated in our alert last month, The Anti-bias licensing program curriculum of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), for example, trains early childhood teachers to promote homosexuality as morally good. (See update)
Bachmann has authored the Senate bill to amend the Minnesota Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. This is necessary to protect our state from activist courts. Bachmann supporters from around the state flocked to Stillwater businesses to support her. Some came sporting homemade buttons saying, "We support Bachmann." (See Star Tribune update)
EdAction issued a call to people to "Shop Stillwater." Thank you for your incredible response!
D.) The following is a glimpse of what is happening in our schools:
1. Tolerance has become the core curriculum.
This year, the MN House education bill defines "character education" in the schools as including "tolerance" and "sensitivity." Tolerance to what? Sensitivity to what?
Parents are beginning to understand how these words have been redefined, but are legislators paying any attention?
Schools Should Teach Tolerance for Transgenders, Activists Say
By Susan Jones
CNSNews.com Morning Editor
April 20, 2004
(CNSNews.com) - A group that advocates tolerance for homosexuals says California schools are not doing enough to teach students about transgender people.
2. School to Work is alive and expanding.
"for the 25 fifth-graders from Oak Park Elementary school who had taken over the restaurant, this was their education -- with a full order of fries... The four-hour stint at Darla's was the culmination of several months of preparation by the students and their teacher."
Is this why so many educational elitists object to the citizen committee social study standards because 'there isn't enough time to teach so many facts and knowledge?' What is more important? Spending time learning about our American heritage or when to pull the fries out?
At the April 16th MN Governor's Workforce Development Council meeting they discussed the need to incorporate job training into the school curriculum.
Appointed member Rep. Lynn Osterman was quick to say, "Whatever we do, we can't call it STW." They lamented the fact that some teachers are just too focused on academics.
Parents see a pattern here. Job training is replacing knowledge-based academics, and our government is promoting it with little opposition..
In case we think STW is only in Minnesota, Arkansas has it, too:
"The fundamental element of the Banking on the Future program is educating high school students in the basics of banking and finance. The goal is two-fold: that each student will become a better consumer of financial services, thus having a positive economic impact on the community; and that the financial services industry will have a source of trained entry-level job candidates in local communities.
"In Arkansas, public high school students are required to select a career path. The Business/Marketing/Technology option is one of five available choices."
Again, what was that about not enough time to teach about our history?*******
EdWatch is entirely user-supported. The continuation of our research and distribution work is entirely dependent on individual contributors. If you want to assure that our work continues, Link to -- www.edwatch.org
Please e-mail us to subscribe to this EdWatch e-mail service.
(c) EdWatch - All rights reserved.