Under New Social Studies Standards, Minnesota Public School Students To Learn Palestinians' 'Liberation Struggles'

Minnesota public school students to learn about 'decolonization'

April 12, 2024

Minnesota’s new K-12 social studies standards will teach students about Palestinians’ fight for "liberation" against the oppressive "colonizer" state of Israel, according to documents obtained by a think tank in the state.

Under new standards adopted by the Minnesota Department of Education, students will learn about "decolonization," with accompanying examples that portray the Jewish state as a colonizing force.

Students will be instructed to "describe how individuals and communities have fought" for "liberation against systemic and coordinated exercises of power," according to the publicly available standards. They will also be asked to analyze "the impact of colonialism" and "dominant and non-dominant narratives."

The public standards don't mention Israel directly, but non-public documents obtained by the Center of the American Experiment, a Minnesota-based think tank, show that the Israel-Palestine conflict is listed as a corresponding example to each of the above lessons.

The standards, and accompanying examples, push an "ideology" that "portrays Israel as an illegitimate state—an oppressive 'colonizer'—whose victims are entitled to forcibly throw off their oppressor," Katherine Kersten, a senior policy fellow at the center, wrote in a recent op-ed. The standards' non-public examples highlight Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) as an immigrant who has made "contributions" to "political ideas," Kersten notes.

The new standards—which were approved by a judge on Jan. 16—will allegedly help the next generations "understand our shared history" and help them avoid "repeating the mistakes of the past," a Minnesota teachers' union official told Fox 9 after the judge's approval.

Minnesota Department of Education spokesman Kevin Burns declined to answer the Washington Free Beacon's questions, deferring instead to the publicly available guidelines.

The Center of the American Experiment also revealed that Minnesota’s Department of Education "ignored its own paid expert reviewers, and knowingly crafted academic standards that violate multiple statutory requirements." In fact, three out of four reviewers—experts in citizenship and government, economics, geography, and history—criticized the standards, with one of the reviewers reportedly describing them as "among the worst in the nation." The reviewers also found that the standards were imbued with "pervasive leftward bias," divisive ideology, and were unteachable in the classroom, according to the center.

Minnesota isn’t the only state to face backlash for dramatic shifts in standards. California’s new equity-focused math curriculum guidelines abandon student performance tracking and aim to narrow the gap between gifted and non-gifted learners—at a time when only a third of the state’s students are proficient in the subject. The guidelines also recommend most students wait until ninth grade to take Algebra I, effectively limiting students from reaching Calculus before graduating high school.

Jo Boaler, a Stanford University professor whose research was credited with axing eighth grade algebra in San Francisco and nudging the state away from accelerated math pathways, is facing allegations of "reckless disregard for accuracy" in her work, according to an academic complaint filed last month.