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.

3/01/2004

New Improved Resolution for Tomorrow Night!

A Resolution Concerning Minnesota's K-12 Social Studies Standards

Whereas: The Party supports rigorous standards for K-12 social studies
education in all Minnesota schools, and

Whereas: Quality social studies education is vital for a vibrant
democratic society, and

Whereas: One of the fundamental roles of education is to provide young
people with the skills to be active and effective participants in civic
life, and

Whereas: The existing process of creating K-12 social studies standards
for the State of Minnesota has been 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) over-representation of individuals committed to private and
home-schooling on the standards writing committee
d) insufficient involvement of post-secondary education and
subject-area experts in the standards writing process
e) absence of civic participation skills in the standards
f) clear evidence of ideological bias in the standards,
particularly with regards to civics and government
g) disregard of solicited and compensated feedback on the draft
standards from national experts
h) disregard of overwhelming and negative public feedback about
the standards
i) disregard of detailed critical feedback from the overwhelming
majority of professors in the Department of History at the University
of Minnesota
j) K-6 standards that many well-qualified and experienced
elementary teachers agree are not age-appropriate
k) Standards that are so detailed and extensive that they would
allow for little additional content to be addressed in most K-12 social
studies classes,

Therefore be it resolved that:

1. Social studies standards should be drafted by a diverse, multi-
partisan committee of well-qualified stakeholders, a majority of whom
should be currently active, licensed public-school teachers.
2. Professors of Education, History, Economics, Political Science,
Government, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology from
Minnesota's post-secondary institutions should be included in the
social studies standards writing process.
3. Social studies standards should not dictate curriculum, and
should be flexible and limited in scope to allow sufficient school
district and teacher autonomy to tailor instruction to current events,
as well as student backgrounds and interests.
4. Social studies standards should include explicit language about
the skills and knowledge necessary for effective participation in civic
life.
5. The state legislature should fully fund all aspects of
implementation of social studies standards, including professional
development, textbook adoption, and development of supplementary
materials.