What We Teach Our Children

Is there anything more important than how we raise our children? How we educate them, how we tell them what the world is like, who we are, and where we came from? I don’t think so. Leftists don’t think so, either, which is why they took over our public school systems long ago.

My state, Minnesota, is typical. Our citizens lean right. I say that because my organization does quarterly polling on issues, and we have never found an issue where the liberal position is supported by more Minnesotans than the conservative one. Nevertheless, the far left is firmly in the saddle, and this is especially true with regard to the public school system.

As in other states, Minnesota law creates a process whereby, periodically, a committee produces standards to be followed by the public schools in each academic discipline. This year, the social studies standard, which tends to be the most controversial, is up for revision. As you would expect, leftists dominate the committee that produces the standard, which has now been published in draft form, and opened for public comment.

My colleague Catrin Wigfall at Center of the American Experiment has published an analysis of the draft social studies standards. Unsurprisingly, they are light on history–World Wars I and II, the Holocaust, minor events of that sort–and heavy on progressive (i.e., anti-American) ideology.

WORLD/U.S. HISTORY

There are several key pieces of our world and nation’s history that are missing when compared with the 2011 social studies standards.

    Missing Benchmarks

* World War I—benchmarks on the social, political and economic causes of the war; nations involved, major political and military figures, key battles; political impact (including formation of the League of Nations)

* World War II—benchmarks on the social, political and economic causes of the war, and main turning points; nations involved, major political and military figures, key battles; timeline of key events leading to WWII

* The Holocaust (including references to the Nazi regime and Jews)

* Rise and effects of communism and socialism; Communist Revolution

* American Revolution—benchmarks on timeline of the major events and turning points of the revolution, including the involvement of other nations and the reasons for American victory; identifying historically significant people during the period of the revolution (Examples: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Elizabeth Freeman)

* Civil War—benchmarks on timeline of the key events of the war; causes of the war; major political and military events; main ideas of the debate over slavery and states’ rights and how they resulted in major political compromises and ultimately war
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MINNESOTA HISTORY

The history and culture of Minnesota’s Anishinaabe and Dakota peoples were included in five benchmarks in the 2011 standards. Their lives and perspective are important, but now with 15 benchmarks in the 2020 first draft specifically naming these two groups, there is concern this comes at the expense of other people groups and other history.

    Missing Benchmarks

* Civil War—the war-time experiences of Minnesota soldiers (1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment) and civilians

* The political and social culture of Minnesota during WWI and how it affected Minnesotans

* The contributions of Minnesota and its people to World War II; the impact of the war on the home front and Minnesota society after the war (Examples: Iron Range mining and steel production, Fort Snelling)

* How Minnesotans influenced, and were influenced by, the debates over the United States’ involvement in World War II

* The response of Minnesotans to global conflicts and displaced peoples since 1945

* The causes and effects of the United States Secret War in Laos and how Hmong allies were impacted

* Norman Bourlaug and the agricultural revolution he pioneered

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WIND AND SOLAR

We believe the 2020 first draft benchmark below is science related, not social studies.

* Examine how scientific knowledge of alternative forms of energy, such as wind and solar, have changed energy production in the United States over the past 20 years (16.8.2)

SYSTEMIC RACISM/MARGINALIZATION

    New Benchmarks

* Learn to recognize unfairness, stereotypes, and bias on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination) (22.1.1) *Note: this is a 1st grade benchmark

* Define freedom and democracy, and examine how different groups have been included or excluded from the ideals over American history (18.7.1)

* Develop a respectful awareness about how ideas and norms about gender have changed over time, and how members of the LGBTQ+ community have responded to persecution or marginalization by building coalitions in order to promote gender equality/equity (22.9.1) *Note: How do you measure “respectful awareness”?

Liberals believe that the principal purpose of the public schools is not to educate our children in a traditional sense, but rather to indoctrinate them and turn them into progressive activists. This is not the view of most Americans, but most Americans don’t run the public schools. My organization is mounting a public campaign to inform Minnesotans about what is going on with the new social studies standards, and to facilitate filing of public comments, etc., to force revisions.

This is just one skirmish in the war over America’s future. Wherever you live, you should inform yourself as to what the public schools are up to, and weigh in as a citizen.

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