Open Letter Urging Kentucky to Further Revise Its Social Studies Standards

National Association of Scholars

Editor's Note: The National Association of Scholars (NAS) and the Civics Alliance recently sent a letter to the Kentucky Department of Education, to comment on the Kentucky Department of Education’s incorporation of the components of Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 158.196 into the Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS) for Social Studies (KAS-SS). We conclude that the Kentucky Department of Education has responded inadequately to the legislative mandate, that it should include a far greater range of primary sources in the KAS-SS, and that it should engage in far greater revisions of the KAS-SS to fulfill the spirit of the legislative mandate, along the lines modeled by the Civics Alliance’s American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards.

A group of Kentucky citizens has now sent the following open letter to Jason E. Glass, the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education, stating their support of the critique and the recommendations in the NAS/Civics Alliance letter.

Kentucky citizens who wish to add their support to the open letter should send an email to David Randall ([email protected]).


Jason E. Glass, Commissioner
Kentucky Department of Education
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601

September 29, 2022

Dear Commissioner Glass,

We are concerned that the Department of Education has responded inadequately to Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 158.196’s legislative mandate requiring a revision to the Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS) for Social Studies (KAS-SS). We have read the public comment by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) and the Civics Alliance, and we believe that its criticisms and its recommendations are well-founded.1 We agree in particular with these points:

  • The Department should substitute new documents where the NAS and the Civics Alliance have identified repetition, tangential relevance, and outright chronological error.
  • The Department generally should cite different historical documents for each Standard and Clarification Statement.
  • The Department should incorporate all 24 documents KRS 158.196 specifies into the Middle-School Standards and also incorporate all 24 into the High-School Standards.
  • The Department should include a far greater range of primary sources in the KAS-SS, such as those recommended by NAS and the Civics Alliance.
  • The Department should incorporate historical documents into the Standards themselves rather than into the Disciplinary Clarifications.
  • The Department should define Impact of Fundamental Documents on the Development of the United States as an Inquiry Practice and apply it to all U.S. history and civics Standards.
  • The Department should completely revise KAS-SS to ensure that Kentucky’s social studies instruction accords with American ideals such as equality, freedom, inalienable rights, respect for individual rights, liberty, and the consent of the governed. It should use American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards and social studies standards in South Dakota and Louisiana as models for this revision.2

We urge the Department of Education to revise KAS-SS to meet these criticisms.

Respectfully yours,

Jim Waters
President and CEO
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions

Richard G. Innes
Staff Education Analyst
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions

Gary W. Houchens, PhD
Board of Scholars
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions

Wilfred Reilly
Associate Professor of Political Sciences
Kentucky State University
Scholar, 1776 Unites; Board of Advisors, Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism

Benjamin P. Foster
Professor, University of Louisville
President, Kentucky Association of Scholars

Mirna Eads
Chapter Chair
Moms for Liberty—Campbell County, Kentucky

Jan K. Skavdahl
President
Northern Kentucky Tea Party

Nelson Dawson, Ph.D.
Editor Emeritus
Kentucky Historical Society


1 NAS Recommends Further Revisions to Kentucky's Academic Standards for Social Studies, September 20, 2022, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/nas-recommends-further-revisions-to-kentuckys-academic-standards-for-social-studies.

2 American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards, Civics Alliance, https://civicsalliance.org/american-birthright/; South Dakota Social Studies Standards (Proposed 8/15/22), https://doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/documents/SS-Proposed.pdf; 2022 K-12 Louisiana Student Standards for Social Studies, https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/academic-curriculum/2022-k-12-louisiana-student-standards-for-social-studies.pdf?sfvrsn=df396518_14.


Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

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