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.

3/05/2004

Another Set of Experts Reject the Standards!

The Minnesota Council for the Social Studies
Statement on the Proposed Social Studies Standards


The Minnesota Council for the Social Studies (MCSS) supports rigorous standards for K-12 social studies education in all Minnesota schools and believes quality Social Studies education is the cornerstone of democratic society. One of the fundamental roles of Social Studies is to provide young people with the skills to be active and effective participants in civic life.

MCSS finds the process of creating K-12 social studies standards for the State of Minnesota is flawed for several reasons, including:

a. lack of political, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity on the standards writing committee
b. under-representation of active, licensed public school teachers on the standards writing committee
c. insufficient involvement of post-secondary education and subject-area experts in the standards
writing process
d. disregard of solicited and compensated feedback on the draft standards from national experts
e. disregard of overwhelming, negative public feedback about the standards
f. disregard of detailed critical feedback from the overwhelming majority of professors in the
Department of History at the University of Minnesota
g. clear evidence of ideological bias in the standards, particularly with regard to civics and government.

MCSS further finds the proposed standards are flawed because:

a. they are age-inappropriate
b. they, in effect, prescribe a specific curriculum that does not allow for additional content nor depth
of study
c. there is an absence of civic participation skills
d. they lack an overall rationale statement to guide the development and implementation of standards.

Therefore be it resolved that:


a new set of Social Studies standards be drafted by a diverse, multi-partisan committee of well-qualified stakeholders, a ¾ majority of whom are currently active, licensed K-12 public-school teachers.

professors of Education, History, Economics, Political Science, Government, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology from Minnesota's post-secondary institutions be included in the social studies standards writing process.

Social Studies standards not dictate curriculum, but be flexible and limited in scope to allow school district and teacher autonomy.

Social Studies standards include explicit language about skills and knowledge necessary for effective participation in civic life.

the State Legislature fully fund all aspects of implementation of Social Studies standards, including professional development, textbook adoption, and development of supplementary materials.

This resolution was passed by the membership of MCSS at the annual meeting March 4, 2004.