Louisiana social studies standards, without critical race theory, moves closer to approval

Curriculum will be implemented by 2023-2024 school year

By: - March 8, 2022 5:59 pm

BESE met on Tuesday to discuss the latest version of the social studies content standards for K-12 schools. (JC Canicosa/Louisiana Illuminator)

Louisiana’s revised K-12 social studies standards, of which education Superintendent Cade Brumley said critical race theory “was not a component,” will likely be approved Wednesday by the state school board.

“This is a really important body of work for our state and our children,” Brumley said.

The standards include content and timelines for history classes taught in Louisiana public schools. They are supposed to be reviewed and revised every seven years but haven’t been updated since the 2010-2011 academic year.

The revisions have been significantly tied to conservative concerns about critical race theory, which examines history through the lens of how racism has shaped policy and society. Opponents have sought to limit discussions of racism and equity in the classroom setting.

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Approval of the standards was expected to happen by December, but the timeline was pushed back to March because of the vast number of public comments the state education department received. Many cited critical race theory as a chief concern among Louisiana parents and teachers.

Since then, the standards were revised to include more lessons on Louisiana and U.S. history, assistant education superintendent Jenna Chiasson said during a presentation to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at a committee meeting Tuesday. 

Louisiana history standards by grade

Here’s a breakdown of the history standards focus for Louisiana’s K-8 public school students: 

  • Kindergarten: “Life in my home, school and local community”
  • 1st grade: “Life in the great state of Louisiana”
  • 2nd grade: “Life in our great country, the United States of America”
  • 3rd grade: “The American story: People, places and papers”
  • 4th grade: “The ancient world”
  • 5th grade: “The medieval to the early modern world”
  • 6th grade: “The United States and Louisiana: Beginnings through ratification”
  • 7th grade: “The United States and Louisiana: The early republic through Reconstruction”
  • 8th grade: “The United States and Louisiana: Industrial Age through the Modern Era”

State Rep. Charles Owen, R-Rosepine, a member of the House Education Committee, said he has been following the revision process and praised the latest version of the standards to the board.

Owen was a previous critic of the standards for not having “a more objective approach to what really happened in history” and “incendiary language” before they were revised.

“My perception is that (the standards) are balanced” now, Owen said. “I’m very, very thankful for what I’ve seen.”

In an interview, BESE President Sandy Holloway said she expects the full board to approve the revised standards at its full meeting Wednesday. They would be implemented in time for the 2023-24 school year.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is an award-winning journalist at The Louisiana Illuminator. Canicosa has previous experience at Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.

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