Social Studies Academic Standards Committees

Analysis of Virginia Standards

Virginia standards for Civics & Economics
Virginia standards for History & Geography

The above links are the Virginia standards for Civics & Economics and for History and Geography (to 1877).

I am using them as an example because you'll find most of these same issues in all of the state standards. This is a cursory review. and we'll try to provide something more thorough. The following comments are the things that immediately jump out as fundamental problems in these two social studies standards areas.

Civics & Economics:
1. The standards are Civics only. Why just Civics? Why not Civics & Government? The nature and purpose of American government has been omitted. This sets the stage for all sorts of problems in the remainder of the standards.

2. CE.2 (a) - Most fundamental principles of our government are omitted: National sovereignty (the beginning and end of the Declaration) is nonexistent Also missing are self-evident truth, natural law, equality before God, the principle of unalienable rights, the identified unalienable rights of life, liberty, property, and the purpose of government to secure these rights. Popular sovereignty is included (consent of the governed). All of these are the stated principles in the Declaration of Independence, and they are the foundational principles of our country.

3. CE 2 (c) - The purpose of the government is missing. By not dealing with this, the foundation is missing.

4. CE.3 (b) - How about the other freedoms, for example the 2nd amendment? What about right to property? Since the unalienable rights were never addressed under fundamental principles, it compounds the problem by also leaving them out here.This list is very selective.

5. CE.3 (d) - "respecting differing opinions in a diverse society." This is just code language for post-modernism and multi-culturalism. Is there no truth?

6. CE.3 (e) - Because the purpose of government has not been addressed, this statement is very misleading. The common good has been elevated to the top, essentially perverting the principles of American government which exists first to secure the rights of citizens.

7. CE.6 (a) - The relationship of state government to the "national" government cannot be adequately addressed without studying the 10th amendment.

8. CE.7 / CE.8 - CE.7 (b) describes the roles and powers of the executive branch, but there isn't a comparable description of the judicial branch in CE.8 How about the proper role of the courts, as defined by the Constitution? Instead we get the "exercise of judicial review."

9. CE.9 (a) - The concept of scarcity is not balanced with the concept of increasing wealth with good economic activity. This is the typical environmental approach of zero sum game. With limited resources, government must allocate. What about creating resources?

10. CE.12 - How do "career opportunities" fit into civics? This is just a way to slip in school-to-work.

U.S. History to 1877:
1. The second introductory paragraph states that the study of history must emphasize skills necessary for "responsible citizenship." This is a distortion that is repeated from the Civics standards. The purpose of government is omitted, and that is reflected throughout the standards.

2. USI.1 (d) - This is a post-modern statement. There is no mention that there is truth that may be discovered.

3. USI.3, USI.4, USI..5 - This is the multi-cultural approach to American history. It is described well in John Fonte's article on Transnational

(Hudson Institute on Transnational Progressivism (pdf))
The fact that European influence played the primary role in creating a distinct American culture is replaced with a revisionist idea of "three cultures."

4. USI.7 (b) - The basic principles of the new government should include the Declaration of Independence.

5. USI.9 (b) - The only time states rights are mentioned, they are presented as a negative.


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