Social studies squabble

  • Updated: January 22, 2013 - 9:13 PM


Issues in dispute in review of new social studies academic standards:

Inalienable rights -- Critics say standards should make clear that citizens have "inalienable," God-given rights. Defenders say this is a religious belief, not widely accepted fact in the social studies community.

"American exceptionalism" -- Critics believe the standards dwell too heavily on U.S. faults. Defenders say students must learn of America's problems as well as its strengths.

Markets vs. government -- Critics singled out a phrase that suggested market failures are market-driven and require government intervention. They say this ignores the role of government as a cause. Defenders say the standards allow students to draw their own conclusions about the role of government on the economy.

Religion -- Critics say religion's role in founding of United States is ignored in the standards. Defenders say religion's role during that period is in dispute, and the standards include religion's influence in the nation's development.

Liberal bias -- Critics see persistent liberal bias throughout. Defenders say the standards are grounded in research, not interpretations of religious texts.


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