Our opinion: Welcomed step forward

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, January 6, 2021

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It has recently been announced that Minnesota is updating social studies standards to be more inclusive and touching on people who have previously been left largely undiscussed.

The Associated Press reported that, “A diverse committee’s first draft, now open for public comment, gives greater consideration to the Dakota and Anishinaabe tribes and covers for the first time the civil rights struggles of LGBTQ people.”

This is a much welcomed step forward to make sure these groups are part of educational discussions, though we agree with some that the new standards laid out in this first draft don’t go far enough.

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We are long past the need to discuss the achievements and contributions of the LGBTQ community, which has faced an uphill battle for acceptance for far too  many years. It’s another opportunity for this group  to truly be acknowledged as a part of our community.

To continue that trend of acceptance, however, there must be a further push toward better education to help guide this trend forward.

The same can be said of different ethnicities who deserve to have their voices recognized within the country they now live. It’s just a shame that it’s taken this long to recognize this.

“This overwhelming dominance of Euro-America perspectives is not only damaging to our children’s identity but also leads many students of color to disengage as they don’t see themselves reflected,” said Aaliyah Hodge in the Associated Press’ Saturday article.

Depending on the direction the state wishes to go with this and the decisions they make, it’s still up to individual school districts to decide on the curricula it will teach.

This puts a heady responsibility in the hands of individual school districts.

These cultures and groups need to be a healthy part of the conversation if we are truly to offer a well-rounded education.

Austin, which touts it’s own wide diversity, has been a welcoming community. This is a chance to get to know our neighbors better as they make up an important part of Austin.

Austin Public Schools has done amazing things in order to make sure this diversity is accepted, but we can always do more.

When the time is right, we hope school districts will choose to further education as to what these narratives continue to offer us as a growing society.