Albuquerque, N.M. – Educators in New Mexico are proposing sweeping changes to the state’s social studies standards that would introduce racial and social identity lessons to students as young as kindergarten.
The current standards do not address the “increasingly diverse perspectives and histories of the peoples of New Mexico,” according to language on the Public Education Department’s website.
WATCH THE FULL STORY HERE:
Parents in Albuquerque who spoke to Fox News were divided on the issue.
“I send my child to school to be taught math, reading, writing, not another ‘R,’ which is race,” Elizabeth Ramos, a mother of two, said. “I don’t value somebody telling me what to teach and how to teach my child about how to get along with other people.”
“If my child doesn’t do that, well, that’s on me,” she continued. “I’m the one who has the credentials to teach my children how to treat other people.”
Sylvia Miller-Mutia, a local pastor and mother of three kids in Albuquerque public schools, submitted a written comment favoring the changes.
“In order for people, the students, to grow into a citizen that can stay engaged with people who have a variety of opinions, which I feel like is kind of what we see disintegrating sometimes in our country, they actually need to have the vocabulary and the exposure to a range of ideas so that they can actually have an intelligent and thoughtful and respectful conversation,” Miller-Mutia told Fox News.
A draft copy of the proposed standards states that kindergartners would learn about “identity groups,” progressing to comparing and contrasting “cultural identity” in third grade, and then “assessing how social policies and economic forces offer privilege or systemic inequity” in high school.
The standards, if finalized, are set to be implemented in Fall 2023, according to the New Mexico Public Education Department. New Mexicans won’t be able to vote on them, though they can offer public comment.
“We’re 51st in education in this state, now that they count D.C., and they go and lay out social studies standards that are not designed to fight our literacy issues, not designed to fight our math issues or writing issues,” said Mark Ronchetti, a Republican candidate for governor. “They’re designed to divide kids, and it makes no sense.”
Ronchetti told Fox News he would rescind the social studies proposals if he wins the November election.
“When I started to understand what it was, it frightened me because I have two children of color,” Sarah Olivarez Johnson said. “I’ve always taught them that this is America, and whether you fail or succeed has nothing to do with the color of your skin, but everything to do with how hard you’re willing to work.
“This the antithesis of that,” she added.
Gale, a graduate student from Albuquerque told Fox News she supports the changes.
“Educating children that young about race and culture is vital to changing our outlook on race and culture in this society,” she said.
One New Mexico resident, Paul, said: “These people that are teaching this stuff are teaching kids how to be racist, really. I don’t even think that … should be part of the curriculum.”
“Reading, writing and arithmetic should be what they’re teaching,” he continued. “Not this kind of stuff.”
Ramos, whose oldest son is in high school, said topics of race and social identity should be taught in college, not kindergarten.
“Kindergartners play with everybody,” Ramos told Fox News. “They’re equal. What you’re doing is you’re identifying everybody’s differences.”
“In the same way that you wouldn’t hand a calculus textbook to a kindergartner, but you would teach them their numbers because otherwise when they get to high school, they’re going to be really lost … likewise, you know, you give kids tools when they’re very small to build the foundation that enables them to have the skills and the tools they need to engage more difficult or nuanced material as they age,” Miller-Mutia said.
The New Mexico Public Education Department referred Fox News to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, which did not respond to a request for an interview.
Isabelle McDonnell and Matt Wall contributed to this report.
Read more at viralsant.com