Minnesotans for Better Education, Standards and Testing

Minnbest is a non-partisan, broad based coalition of parents, educators and school advocacy groups who believe excellent public education is a foundation of democracy in America.

12/30/2003

Michael Boucher: A Speech from the Apple Valley Meeting

Here is a copy of the speech I am giving at the Apple Valley meeting on the Proposed social studies standards. I hope to see a lot of people there from the city. Please forward this to anyone who would be remotely likely to go. Yeche is trying to say that the teachers are against the standards, but parents are for them. That is, of course, a lie. They are not including all the comments on the different standards that have been registered.

The Address is
Apple Valley: School of Environmental Studies
12155 Johnny Cake Road
Location: Commons Area
The hearing starts at 7:00 but get there earlier if you want to be heard.

You can obtain a Word copy of the standards with the comments that have been recorded so far @ http://education.state.mn.us/standards/Social_Studies_Standards_First_Draft.doc

If you are wondering what all the fuss is about take a look at MAPSSS Minnesotans against the proposed social studies standards website
http://www.mapsss.org

To take a look at the group called the Maple River Coalition who had undue influence on the Civics standards and believe that the federal government is trying to create a soviet style workforce with a secret plan divulged in a letter to Hilary Clinton, go to www.edwatch.org Go down past the stuff they selling untill you get to How New U.S. Policy Embraces a State-Planned Economy

Then look at this page written by state senator Michelle Bachman from Stillwater.
http://www.edaction.org/What%20To%20Do/Bachmann_FedEd.pdf

I have included a copy of the speech I gave at the St Paul meeting. I was not able to finish it so my next one will be considerably shorter.
Hope to see you there!!!!!!!
Hope to save civic education in Minnesota.
______________________________________________________________
Good evening Commissioner and citizens: 10-13-03

I am a graduate of Apple Valley High School.

I would like to take some of my time today to praise my inspirational teacher of 30 years at Apple Valley High School. I took all of his classes during my 4 years at Apple Valley and in those classes; he continually challenged us to think. I can still remember him pointing to his head and saying, “c’mon people think about it” and then ask us a question about the motives behind the content he was telling us. He was a brilliant lecturer and we were encouraged to differentiate between what was interesting and what was “crucial.” “This is crucial, people.”

This great teacher was content focused but was continually demanding of us to go beyond the names and places and to see the ramifications, the motives, the causes; then apply that thinking to the next content.

That brings me to the standards the History and Civics that you and your committee have created. They violate the very priciples I learned right here in Apple Valley.

The History standards are not only rife with factual errors and egregious, racist deletions but there is an obvious social and political agenda of accentuating states rights over civil rights and the individual over the common good.

There is little in the civics standards that are “crucial.” Instead, they are a repetitive mish mash of Natural Rights philosophy and Soviet –style jingoism.

In the Civics Standards:

Declaration of Independence gets 14 Benchmarks
No mention of Civil rights
No mention of the fourteenth amendment
Various Flags and songs get 5 standards
And “Students will discuss why the Founders identified “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as natural rights, and differentiate “happiness” from “pursuit of happiness.’”

The American History standards continue in delivering an Orwellian, narrow, whitewash that gives no room for analysis, debate or truly democratic ideals.

Grade 3 "Students will know and understand cultural interactions among Europeans and American Indians that led to cooperation, compromise and conflict."

Grade 8 "Students will know and understand the role of America’s military and veterans in defending freedom during the Cold War, including the wars in Korea and Vietnam, the Cuban missile crisis, and the collapse of communism in Europe."

In the face of such absolute failure, the answer is clear. The panel that created these inadequate standards must resign. A new panel must be created and I call on the commissioner to also resign in the face of her failure to provide leadership to create world-class standards for Minnesota’s children.

Thank you