Pushback over proposed social studies curriculum

Education

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s controversy over the New Mexico Public Education Department’s proposed changes to the curriculum for grades kindergarten through 12th. PED says more than 60 teachers across the state helped revise these k-12 standards for social studies but the Republican Party of New Mexico insists some of the proposed changes are biased.


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The last time the state’s social studies standards went through a major makeover was about 20 years ago and the PED said now is the right time for another one. “As we started this process, our overarching goal was to set social studies standards that are culturally responsive and that focus on the knowledge, skills and dispositions critical to enter all students in New Mexico are all college, career and civic ready,” said Jacqueline Costales, the PED division director of Curriculum and Instruction.

So the PED, along with educators from around New Mexico, drafted 122 pages of new standards. Currently, social studies are taught under four main pillars: civics, economics, geography and history. The state wants to add Ethnic, Cultural and Identity Studies as well as an inquiry component where students can take what they’ve learned and look deeper into it. The department said the new components will help students learn about the state’s diverse backgrounds and develop a higher level of thinking.

“[The students] are able to apply their social sciences skills not just by memorizing facts and dates and times in history but applying what they learned with the overarching themes,” said Costales.

“The curriculum proposes changes that foster teachings with a bias towards progressives and we feel they’re taking history and making it political,” said Republican Party of New Mexico’s Congressional District 3 Vice-Chair, Anita Statman.

However, the Republican Party of New Mexico said while not all of our history is good, they believe the new proposals will teach that our country is bad.

“They’re asking students, this is for high school students to ‘create an action plan for a more just and equitable America,'” said Statman. “I didn’t know we needed an action plan for a more just and equitable America? So it’s suggesting that the premise we have right now is not satisfactory.”

The state is asking for public comment on the proposed changes. You can send those in by email, regular mail or attend a hearing in mid-November. For more information, visit webnew.ped.state.nm.us/bureaus/literacy-humanities/social-studies.

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