Judicial Review Finds Problems in Minnesota Ethnic Studies Standards … History of Communism Bill Introduced in Florida … American Birthright Gains an Administrative Victory in Colorado … All this and more in the latest Resolute …
Judicial Review Finds Problems in Minnesota Ethnic Studies Standards
A Minnesota administrative law judge has found a problem in the new Minnesota Ethnic Studies Standards. What problem has not yet been announced—but the Center of the American Experiment (CAE) coordinated a comprehensive legal challenge to the Ethnic Studies standards. Minnesota law, after all, is supposed to bar propaganda thinly disguised as social studies, so there are no end of ways that the Ethnic Studies standards could have fallen foul of the law. Stay tuned for further developments!
Civics Alliance supporters should remember that the law is another bulwark of liberty, and that they can and should resort to legal challenges when the far-left attempt blatantly illegal changes to education. Ultimately our victories must be political, but the law is a weapon in our armory. Look to see how CAE is using it in Minnesota!
History of Communism Bill Introduced in Florida
State Senator Jay Collins of Florida has introduced a bill that would require Florida public schools to teach the history of communism and to establish a History of Communism Task Force. This bill would add a new section to Florida’s social studies standards, parallel to its treatment of Holocaust Education. Florida’s schoolchildren would know at least the rudiments of the history—and therefore the horrors—of Communism.
History of Communism standards would be a good adjunct to American Birthright standards—and, indeed, to any good social studies standards. Civics Alliance supporters in other states should consider whether to work for similar bills in other states. It’s ultimately more important that our children know the nature of America, the West, and liberty, but knowing how Communism has worked to destroy all three of these would be a good start.
American Birthright Gains an Administrative Victory in Colorado
Colorado’s Woodland Park School District was the first school district in the nation to adopt the American Birthright standards. Though adoption isn’t the end of the battle. American Birthright opponents claimed that adopting the standards would endanger Woodland Park’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) accreditation. Now, however, NCAA has approved Woodland Park’s American Birthright standards for World Geography, World History, and Economics. That’s one fearmongering excuse out of the way.
And fearmongering really was the point. The education establishment wants to use the tangle of administrative requirements to scare people into rejecting reform. Education reformers must know that they have to comply with a thousand administrative requirements, not just for their own sake, but so as to main public support for education reform.
Kremlinology: Softening Academic Support for DEI Statements?
The Chronicle of Higher Education published this opinion piece: “We Know Diversity Statements Are Political Litmus Tests: It’s time to end this discriminatory practice,” by Komi Frey of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. The substance isn’t new to education reformers—but the venue is. The Chronicle is one of the house organs of the education establishment, and they haven’t been good at publishing any dissents from the academic party line. So it matters that they’ve allowed a piece opposing DEI to appear at their website. That’s a sign that the far-left have loosened their grip—and that’s something to be encouraged by.
Cutting off the Money in Oklahoma
State Superintendent Ryan Walters announced that the Oklahoma State Department of Education will no longer work with or fund,
any organization that pushes a woke agenda, supports indoctrination, opposes parental empowerment, and provides duplicative services within Oklahoma’s education system including the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA), the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA), and the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC). These organizations work in tandem with national extremist groups that seek to undermine parents, force failed policies into the schools, and work against a quality education in Oklahoma.
The devil is in the details, but this is a very important initiative. Cutting off public money to the progressive-NGO complex is an essential step to reclaiming American education—and, indeed, to reclaiming the republic. Superintendent Walters is to be commended—and imitated!
Restoring K-12 English Instruction
Mark Bauerlein has written an important report for the American Enterprise Institute, Restoring the Canon to K–12 English Language Arts Standards. English Language Arts (ELA) need to be reformed too—along with social studies, science, and mathematics. Bauerlein’s report is a first step toward planning out how to conduct that reform.
Getting Rid of Claudine Gay
Claudine Gay’s resignation from the Harvard presidency is a notable victory for education reformers. While it is not directly relevant to social studies standards and K-12 education reform, her removal is worth noting as 1) an inspirational victory; and 2) an example of successful tactics, which could conceivably be adapted to K-12 education reform. Moreover, wherever the K-12 establishment relies on the authority of higher education, Claudine Gay is a handy shorthand of saying higher education deserves neither deference or confidence. Civics reformers, take note!
Would you like to be on a list of people prepared to give testimony in favor of a state bill to reform civics education? If so, please get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org. We need people ready to testify in all 50 states—ideally, with some personal tie to the education system, but testimony from any citizen would be good.
State Social Studies Standards: What’s Coming Up
- Alaska: Alaska’s Department of Education contracted with the American Institutes for Research to provide draft social studies standards. These draft standards are scheduled to be submitted to the State Board of Education and posted for public comment in March of 2024.
- West Virginia: Social studies standards will be reviewed through January 2024, and presented to the State Board of Education in April 2024.
If you have news we don’t please write in and say! But as far as we can tell, that is the state of play for the present moment.
Civics Alliance Now Has Ten State Affiliates
The Civics Alliance is building a network of state affiliates—groups dedicated to removing action civics in their states, whom we will list on our website. Our newest state affiliate is Nebraska, run by Dennis Applegarth. Welcome, Dennis and Nebraska! We now have ten affiliates, in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas. If you would like to form such an organization, or suggest an existing organization, please get in touch with David Randall (email@example.com).
Monthly American Birthright Zoom Meeting
The Civics Alliance will have its monthly Zoom session devoted to social studies standards reform on Monday, January 29, at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join these monthly Zoom meetings.
Social Studies Standards Revision Schedule
2024/Current: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky (partial), Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
2025: Kentucky, Nebraska, Texas
2026: Colorado, Maryland, North Dakota, South Carolina
2027: Hawaii, Kansas
No Revision Currently Scheduled: California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
Please email David Randall (email@example.com) if you are interested in further information about your state’s social studies revision process, and what you can do to participate.
Continuing Priorities: Federal Legislation
At the federal level, the Civics Secures Democracy Act threatens to impose action civics nationwide.
The Civics Bill Tracker
Civics Alliance supporters may now use the Civics Bill Tracker to track all proposed federal and state legislation related to civics.
We encourage Civics Alliance supporters to inform the public and policymakers about the stakes and consequences of action civics bills.
David Randall is Executive Director of the Civics Alliance and Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars.