Date: August 21, 2003
Subject: Scope and sequence

Yesterday we met to discuss "scope and sequence," essentially whether the whole of our standards from kindergarten through grade 12 cover what we want them to cover, are grade appropriate, and whether there are any omissions or redundancies in the standards. Another way of thinking of it is how the standards "flow" from K-12, and how they will work with a related strand, U.S. History. The room seemed pretty empty at 7:30 am, until we realized that the science committee would not meet until the following day, so our group was half the size of the July 31 group. We got reacquainted with each other over coffee and baked goods, then went to our scope and sequence groups.

Our Government and Civics scope and sequence committee made good progress in the morning, covering K-5 before lunch. During lunch, we reconvened in our grade-level subcommittees. After lunch, we covered grades 6-8, which took most of the afternoon, then finished up with 9-12. We finished about an hour past the target adjourment time of 4:00 pm, but I think that the extra time gave us a very good first draft product.

The various members of our committee presented their grade-level standards (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) for Government & Civics, then the whole committee made comments. In some cases members discussed proposed changes with their grade level subcommittee during lunch. We had some lively discussions about U.S. history, the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, criteria for good standards, grade-appropriateness, grammar, and word choice. It was a vigorous intellectual workout.

MDE staff will enter our standards into a table format, and post them on the web site for public comment by September 8. Comments will be submitted over the next eight weeks via the MDE web site, public hearings, and comment from national experts. The social studies committee will convene on November 1 to consider the comments and prepare a final draft. Commissioner Yecke will present a final draft to the legislature in February for their approval.

The Commissioner addressed us in the morning, but spent most of the day working in the MDE's State Fair booth, which includes the presentation of their new report cards for every public school in Minnesota (which some insiders call "School on a Stick").