Anti-police benchmarks are another reason to oppose standards

December 13, 2021

If you needed another reason to dislike the third draft of social studies standards currently under review, take a look at how they treat police officers and the history of policing in America. The study of contemporary policing, as they put it, is part of the new Ethnic Studies strand added to the new draft without legislative approval.

Standard #25 is one of three Ethnic Studies standards:

Ways of Knowing/Methodologies: Use ethnic and Indigenous studies methods and sources in order to understand the roots of contemporary systems of oppression and apply lessons from the past in order to eliminate historical and contemporary injustices.

One benchmark for learning about “contemporary systems of oppression” teaches fifth graders to “Examine contemporary policing and explore its historical roots in early America.” (5.5.25.1) So according to the standards, contemporary policing is part of a system of oppression. Black Lives Matter could not have written it any better.

The third draft’s focus on crime, policing and the juvenile justice system continues in later grades:

In sixth grade, they “describe the goals, offenses, penalties, long-term consequences, privacy concerns of Minnesota’s juvenile justice system and evaluate the impact on youth, including those from historically disenfranchised groups.” (6.1.4.2)

In high school, they “examine conflicting perspectives about the impact of federal policies on legislation on American society,” including “criminal justice” and “incarceration.” (9.4.19.15)

In high school, they also “explore how criminality is constructed and what makes a person a criminal.” (9.5.25.4)

Why is this important?

Teaching about the history of policing in America from the oppressed/oppressor Ethnic Studies perspective will likely generate fear and resentment in students of some racial/ethnic groups, and convince them that policing and criminality are “racially constructed.”

But don't take our word for it — the promoters of Ethnic Studies in Minnesota are waging their own campaign to influence the third draft of social studies standards, specifically citing the policing benchmarks. The Minnesota Ethnic Studies Coalition put out an action alert asking supporters to “voice your support for including the history of policing as a 'benchmark' within Social Studies. The proposed benchmark invites students to examine contemporary policing and explore its historical roots in early America.”

Their suggested talking points:

It is important for all students to learn about fights against injustice in this country - and it is impossible to teach those stories without addressing policing, which continues to be at the center of the fight for racial justice in Minnesota and elsewhere. Our students live in a world in which policing is a central issue in their communities, and they deserve a deeper understanding of policing and the role it has played in our society. 

They end their email alert with this warning:

Unfortunately, our progress has been subjected to politically motivated attacks by conservative politicians and organizations. 

Sounds like they’re talking about American Experiment. Always remember, the Left’s feedback is righteous and for the common good. Conservative feedback is politically motivated attacks.


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