Date: October 20, 2003
Subject: Right-Wing Standards

Opponents of the draft standards claim that "The standards committee was told to draft Minnesota's standards by using five states' standards (i.e., Alabama, Arizona, California, Kansas, Virginia) endorsed by the right-wing conservative Fordham Foundation."

First of all, the citizen members of the standards committee were not "told to draft Minnesota's standards" using anything but what was between their ears.

Second, the opponents conveniently fail to mention the rest of the story: these same state standards in Social Studies were also highly rated by the American Federation of Teachers in their study Making Standards Matter 1999. You know, that "right wing" American Federation of Teachers.

California's and Virginia's History standards were given a grade of B- and A- respectively by Education Week's Quality Counts '99. You know, that "controversial conservative" Education Week magazine.

Finally, Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), in their A Technical Guide for Revising or Developing Standards and Benchmarks looked favorably on the Geography standards for Alabama, Kansas, and Arizona and the History standards for all five of the states in question. McREL is the favorite bogeyman of EdWatch (formerly Maple River Education Coalition) for their development and promotion of national standards, School-to-Work, and a planned economy.

Let's look beyond the fear-mongering at all of the facts. There seems to be a growing consensus about what makes good standards, but it's not just among controversial right-wing conservative groups.