The second draft of the state social studies standards, released last week, is ridden with critical race theory rhetoric, hidden behind the term “ethnic studies.”
After reviewing thousands of public comments regarding the first draft, the Minnesota Department of Education has now released a second draft of the social studies standards for grades K-12 in Minnesota.
This draft consists of five “strands,” or subjects, and 24 “standards,” which then correlate with benchmarks for each grade. While the first draft focused on the standards alone, the second draft explains the corresponding “specific knowledge or skill” each standard requires.
One of the five subjects is “ethnic studies,” an area of research that is built from critical race theory.
According to Manuel Rustin, a high school teacher in Pasadena, California who helped draft statewide ethnic studies curriculum, “ethnic studies without critical race theory is not ethnic studies. It would be like a science class without the scientific method.” Minneapolis Public Schools explicitly lists critical race theory as a “framework” for its new ethnic studies graduation requirement.
According to an introduction found in the draft, the process of creating the whole set of standards was completed with an emphasis on the “political, economic, and historical perspectives of the diverse racial and ethnic groups in America.”
Ethnic studies will be taught starting in kindergarten, according to the second draft. One ethnic studies benchmark for kindergarteners requires them to “tell a story about a fair and unfair experience that illustrates power balances and imbalances.”
According to the draft, first graders will be asked to “construct meaning of the terms ethnicity, equality, liberation, and systems of power, and identify examples.”
Third graders will be required to “explain the role that stereotypes and images, including those that are racist, play in the construction of an individual/group’s identity … and why stereotypes have changed over time.”
Fourth graders will be asked to analyze “anti-racist resistance movements,” and fifth graders will examine why the names of places may change.
High school students will be asked to study Islamic centers and their impact on the scientific revolution and today’s society. They’ll also be required to look at the “hierarchies” of race, religion, and social class, how these were used to justify slavery, and how they continue to influence society today.
LGBTQ studies is on the docket for high school students as well, with standards that require students to “develop a respectful awareness about how ideas and norms about gender have changed over time.”
High schoolers will be expected to “develop an analysis of racial capitalism, political economy, anti-Blackness, Indigenous sovereignty, illegality and indigeneity.”
If public comment on the first draft was any indication, the second draft will also turn out many concerned parents and citizens. The Social Studies Standards Committee is accepting public feedback on the second draft until August 17, when their next meeting will be held.