Radio Show & Action Items

This morning I was on Red Meat Radio with Senator Howard Stephenson and Representative Greg Hughes talking about the problems with our recently adopted K-2 social studies standards. The first 2 minutes are a little talk about the first segment of the show and then we get into the meat of the subject. Total running time is 14 minutes (or 12 if you skip the first 2).

Red-Meat-Radio-Republic Segment-1-9-2010

Here’s the action plan. With public exposure on what has transpired, our plan will be to do as Senator Stephenson asked and have everyone write your State School Board member a letter asking why public suggestions weren’t used in the final document. Use the letter below this post as a perfect example of great suggestions that were ignored. Include in your letter, your name, address, and phone number and send it to all board members (but send it to your own separately with a comment in the subject line identifying you as a constituent) and CC your state representative and senator and myself so I have an archive of the letters. Representative Hughes said if we are ignored they will hold hearings so we need to get everyone to write a brief letter and document responses.  We the people can hold our education office accountable through this method.

To get the email address of your State Board Member go here: http://www.usoe.k12.ut.us/board/

For email addresses for your Representative and Senator go here: http://www.utah.gov/government/legislative.html

If you don’t know what to write, here’s a sample letter you can customize or copy:

Subject: K-2 Social Studies standards {I am a constituent—for your own member}

Dear {state school board member},

You recently voted to approve K-2 social studies standards for the state of Utah. Prior to your approval there were a few public hearings where comments were made regarding the draft. I know there were a few people that made comments at these meetings and I am aware that over 50 email letters were sent in with specific suggestions to improve the standards but almost none of these responses were taken into consideration or included in the final draft.

For example, in discussing our founding documents, the only requirement in the approved standards for K-2 is to learn “Declaration of Independence” and “Constitution” as vocabulary terms, and to be able to “identify” the document. This is completely inadequate. One letter that was submitted showed specific ways to incorporate our founding documents into the standards in a very easy to integrate way. Some of those suggestions were to slightly modify draft standards to use founding document references as follows:

**********

Kindergarten:

Self, Family, and Classroom, Standard 1 (Culture):  Objective 1   e. Explain that the Declaration of Independence teaches us all people should be treated with respect because they are equal.

Self, Family, and Classroom, Standard 2 (Citizenship):  Objective 1 f. Explain that the U.S. Constitution teaches us to respect the rights of others.

Self, Family, and Classroom, Standard 4 (FInancial Literacy) e. Explain that the U.S. Constitution authorized the Congress to coin our money and set the value of it.

**********

None of these were included and apparently very few public comments were even taken seriously. The word Republic doesn’t appear in the Utah standards at any K-12 level (aside from this document’s introductory material for teachers–this is a first for any direct reference to the American form of government).

I would specifically like to know what you are going to do as a state board member to correct this and amend the standards to include greater integration of our founding documents. I’m sure you weren’t wholly aware of the amount of public input that was ignored when you approved the standards, but it seems that the “public” education system only holds public hearings as a way to mark off a “completed” box rather than take public comment seriously. Please respond.

Sincerely,

{your name, address, phone number}

2 Responses to “Radio Show & Action Items”

  • Ken Bowers:

    I am in favor of having our founding documents taught to the children more fully than they are now. Please amend the standards to take into account the suggestion that were already given you.

  • Ken Bowers:

    I am in favor of having our founding documents taught to the children more fully than they are now. Please amend the standards to take into account the suggestion that were already given you.