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Come to the Review of Draft Standards

October 28, 2003

The public hearings are over and the next stage of the development of new standards begins. This Saturday, November 1st, the Social Studies Committee will re-assemble to review the pages and pages of public testimony they have received. The Science Committee will re-assemble on Saturday, November 8th.

The meeting is open to the public. Please come:
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Department of Education , Conference Center
Roseville, MN
651-582-8734 for directions

Let them know you care about the standards.

See reports and commentary on the public meetings.

Today's quote is from Claudia Peppey, a Mpls.Teacher:
"As a first grade teacher and a parent I am very disturbed by the proposed standards. I fail to understand the importance of knowing who William Bradford and Squanot are for a first grader much less an adult. . Teaching in a mulicultural environment makes me very aware of how important it is to include all cultures and traditions in our curriculum. If I am forced to teach about the pilgrims I will not." (Spelling and punctuation errors are as written). Well, so much for teaching about America's heritage, as far as Ms. Peppey is concerned.

When the public spoke out, those independent of the education establishment, they were appreciative of the knowledge-based standards. They thanked the committee for focusing on the basic principles upon which our country is based. The Social Studies standards are not without their problems. There are very many improvements and modifications that must be made to the draft standards to make them good. Hopefully, the committees will make positive changes.

However, the acidity from educators toward our country and toward a commitment to pass on the principles of liberty to the next generation was often described by the critics as "biased" and "conservative." Our hope is that teachers would teach children that patriotism transcends political labels. Many teachers quietly disagreed with their vocal anti-American colleagues but were afraid to speak out publicly.

A few examples of the "vocal bully" comments were:
"I see a clear, strong conservative bias and propagandistic tone in much of the social studies standard. The multiple references to patriotism, flags, national anthems and God are the clearest examples. It is one thing to learn to understand and defend the democratic and egalitarian values of America, and of many other nations that value democracy and egalitarianism. It is another thing to teach our children to mouth platitudes about how great America is. To the degree these values still live in our country, they owe far more to a humanitarian spirit of rebellion and dissent than to the dubious virtues of patriotism and love of God."

"Many of the capitalistic threads in the document are just as biased."

"It appears that some members of the committee have an agenda to infuse the new standards with the Core Curriculum. I strongly urge the committee to reevaluate the history standards and look beyond the Core Curriculum for identifying history standards. The National History Standards and the National Social Studies Standards both provide age appropriate standards which do not support any one curriculum approach such as the Core Curriculum. These should also be examined in developing history standards and benchmarks. I am quite troubled that the standards would only reflect one approach to studying history."

The irony of this is that the National Standards are the highly politicized curriculum. They are what the Profile of Learning was based on. They are what the public rejected. In fact, in 1995, the National History Standards were rejected on a vote of 99-1 on the floor of the U.S. Senate for presenting a biased, distorted inaccurate view of our country. Yet these are the same standards that are being used today, with only some of the examples removed.

Thank you to all who showed up at the public hearings and who submitted testimony. Stay tuned. The battle is still ahead to determine whether the Profile of Learning is actually repealed, or whether it will simply be given a new title. Rest assured, we will let you know.

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