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Minnesotans react to new K-12 social studies curriculum

Image courtesy of Education Evolving

The Minnesota Department of Education invited public opinion this Wednesday and Thursday on new social studies standards for Minnesota students.

The standards include expanding history for historically disadvantaged groups, and “analyze the ways power and language construct the social identities of race, religion, geography, ethnicity and gender.” The MN DOE explained that the goal is to have students examine the ways race and racism shape American “social, cultural and political forces.”

“I strongly support the proposed social studies standards, especially the addition of ethnic studies and incorporation of Minnesota's indigenous history,” Minnesota resident Betty Green said. “Minnesota students deserve an education in which they can learn about the histories of all communities and understand our collective history from a variety of different perspectives.”

The DOE held the public forum to gauge what pieces of American – and Minnesotan – history should be included in the curriculum, while still meeting Career and College Readiness guidelines. Responses to the new standards were overwhelmingly positive.

“These standards proposed are rigorous, emphasizing student inquiry over rote memorization,” Minnesota resident and education advocate Marcus Penny said. “They ensure students learn how to learn through Social Studies, emphasizing student inquiry… [recognizing that] social studies is not some unchanging monolith. What happened in the past surely did happen. But what can be known, understood or interpreted about the past is always changing. The standards ensure students develop critical thinking skills, so they may know facts more deeply.”

The state requires the MN DOE review and revise its social studies curriculum every ten years. This revision began in 2021.

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