Sample of Proposed Standards

Introduction to Social Studies

Strand: Famous Americans
Standard: The student will recognize people who contributed to U.S. history.
Benchmark: Students will know people associated with national holidays and figures from various cultural back-grounds, including, but not limited to, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Pilgrims, Squanto, and George Washington.
Strand: Character Traits of Good Citizens
Standard: The student will understand the character traits
of being a good citizen.
Benchmark: Students will recognize, from literature
and real life examples, good citizen traits of honesty, courage, patriotism, and individual responsibility.

Grade 3: World History
(Early Civilizations, prehistory to 1000 B.C.)

Standard: The student will demonstrate knowledge
of ancient civilizations.
Benchmark: Students will compare and contrast characteristics of ancient cultures such as Persia, Egypt,
China, India with Greece.

Grade 5: Geography
Benchmark: Students will locate the areas that were
the major source regions for immigrants to the United States from 1800 to 1877. (Example: West Africa)

Grade 7: Government and Citizenship
Standard: The student will study the Declaration of Independence and understand its principles and civic importance.
Benchmark 1 of 8: Students will be able to explain the Founders’ declaration that the principles of the Declaration
are universal in character, for all people.
Benchmark 8 of 8: Students will recognize the significance
of the Founders’ four references to God in the Declaration
of Independence.

Grade 9 – 12: U.S. History
(Contemporary America, 1980-present)

Standard: The student will understand major developments
in foreign policy between the Nixon and Bush II presidencies.
Benchmark 1 of 2: Students will know the political and economic policies which led to the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, including the role of Ronald Reagan.
Benchmark 2 of 2: Students will know the key events
and policies in the war on terrorism during the early 2000’s.

Paul Spies (paul.spies@metrostate. edu) is a parent of two children attending public schools in Minneapolis. He is an associate professor of urban teacher education at Metropolitan State University and taught high school social studies for seven years in Illinois and Wisconsin.

These are the standards discussed in the article “On the Front Line in Minnesota’s Social Studies War” by Paul Spies.