The state of Minnesota intends to reinvent the way it teaches social studies to students in grades K-12 with an eye for what Minnesota educators call “a more inclusive and culturally affirming curriculum.”
The plan is to no longer teach the holocaust, WWI or WWII.
Instead, according to an opinion piece in the Minnesota Star Tribune, first graders would learn to recognize stereotypes, biased speech, and “injustice at the institutional or systemic level.” By middle school, the paper writes:
“children will be drilled in how identity is a function of skin color. And, by high school, students will be taught how the Europeans invented whiteness and that America’s 19th-century westward expansion was the shameful product of whiteness, Christianity and capitalism.”
Additional areas of importance will include gaining better knowledge of the Anishinaabe tribes, as well as the civil rights struggles of LGBTQ people. The newly proposed standards would also closely link the activity of humans with climate change.
Changes to school curriculum are reviewed every 10 years in Minnesota, and this year, educators not only plan to entirely remove World War I, World War II and the Holocaust from the teaching, but also dilute the run-up to the American Revolution, as well as the years preceding the Civil War. Core documents–including the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of the Confederation, our Constitution and The Bill of Rights–will also all be minimized, as well.
Educational leaders in the state insist schools must make room for the teaching of settler colonialism and indigenous genocide, specifically the genocide that occurred within the land that is Minnesota today, in order for students to feel more connected to their history.
While genocide education is certainly an important part of understanding how critical human rights are…and is certainly relevant to the community of Minnesota, the other historical events are also quite important and still deserve proper attention, do they not? The changes are set for another review this month.
Perhaps a compromise is needed; I’d recommend that the unions consider longer school years, and even longer school days. Let’s make sure that ALL history gets taught.
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