MN asks professors to draft K-12 standards based on 'environmental systems of oppressions'

The state's Department of Education is considering a set of standards informed by ethnic studies and the Critical Race Theory framework.

The benchmarks, which the state wil review on August 17, would take effect in 2025.

The Minnesota Department of Education will meet on Tuesday to consider a draft of K-12 social studies standards that would teach American history through “power structures” and “systems of oppressions [sic].” 

The state’s standards were written by a committee of education leaders and activists that includes professors from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Macalester College, the University of St. Thomas, Bethel University, and St. Catherine University. 

The standards, which contain five “strands” including ethnic studies, call for students to “understand and reflect upon the roots of contemporary social systems and environmental systems of oppressions and apply lessons from the past to eliminate injustice and work toward an equitable future.” 

The new standards, currently in draft form, would take effect in 2025.

[RELATED: California draws from Critical Race Theory profs for K-12 ‘ethnic studies’ curriculum]

To move students towards this goal, the draft standards contains a list of benchmarks that students should reach in kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade.

One of the ninth grade benchmarks is to “compare historical abolition,” or the abolition of slavery, to the “abolitionist movements today,” which aim to dismantle prisons and the police. 

Ninth graders would also “explore how criminality is constructed and what makes a person a criminal,” as well as learn “how members of the LGBTQ+ community have responded to persecution or marginalization by building coalitions to promote gender equality/equity.” 

Sixth graders would be taught to apply fugitivity, a term informed by the Critical Race Theory framework, to “map-making, economics and education.” According to RepresentationsOnly when a Black being recognizes their oppression, victimization, or commodification by speaking, talking back, or refusing to be named and delimited does fugitivity become a lived reality.”

The ethnic studies standards begin in Kindergarten, where one benchmark involves “tell[ing] a story about a fair and unfair experience that illustrates power balances and imbalances.”

[RELATED: Gates Foundation funds Brown University’s K-12 tutoring initiative that presses ‘implicit bias,’ ‘systemic racism,’ ‘privilege’]

The Minnesota Department of Education’s website states, “Critical Race Theory is not included in any current or proposed Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards. Critical Race Theory is a theory that was developed in the 1970s by legal scholars. It may be taught in some master’s or doctoral-level programs.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito