Senate Republicans aim to delay controversial social studies standards

Delaying the implementation of the standards would allow more time for parents to “familiarize themselves with the proposal and provide critical input to the Department of Education,” Sen. Newman said.

Left: Sen. Roger Chamberlain. Right: Sen. Scott Newman/senate.mn

New controversial social studies standards from the Department of Education have garnered a massive response from Minnesota’s parents and residents, most pushing for the standards to be reevaluated.

Now, Senate Republicans are aiming to delay for two years the implementation of any new curriculum in public schools. According to a press release, their goal with this bill is “to ease burdens on students and teachers who have experienced severe disruptions due to the coronavirus and long-term school closures.”

The proposed bill calls for the commissioner of education to immediately suspend allongoing review or revision of academic standards, or implementation of revised academic standards.”

The bill also clarifies that the commissioner is required to evaluate the standards based on “relevance and rigor.”

Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, noted that the new proposed standards are heavy on “activist ideology.”

“The new standards are … short on accurate history and knowledge-based learning. We are open to new ideas and new perspectives, but not at the expense of fundamental topics and fairness,” Newman said.

The drafted standards ignore topics like both World Wars, the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and the Holocaust.

The Minnesota Standards Review Committee received thousands of letters from concerned parents about the curriculum, but brushed them off, calling the campaign letter “white supremacy language.”

Even though many citizens have already voiced concerns, delaying the implementation of the standards would allow even more time for parents to “familiarize themselves with the proposal and provide critical input to the Department of Education,” according to Newman.

“Suspending the implementation of new standards will allow parents, teachers, and students to catch their breath and recover from the worst side effects of COVID,” Chair of the Education Committee Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, added.

Chamberlain is the author of the bill, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee and was then referred to the Committee on Finance.