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New Mexico education standards teach lessons of ethnic and social identity to kindergarteners


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New Mexico’s sweeping new changes to the state’s social studies standards, which would introduce racial and social identity lessons to children as young as age 5, have some Republicans in the state to cry foul.

Finalized standards by the New Mexico Department of Public Education in late February, say kindergarteners will need to learn about “identity groups” and will be able to “identify some of their group identities” . They will also learn to “describe how they are similar and different from people who share their identity and from people who don’t”.


In the third year, public school children will be introduced to the subject of “building community equity”. In fifth grade, they will be able to “explain how the treatment of groups of people in the past and present has an impact on who they are”. Seventh-grade students will study “the impact of unequal power relations on the development of group identities and culture”.

Pre-K students listen to their teacher read a story at Dawes Elementary in Chicago on January 11.
(AP/Chicago Sun-Times)

In eighth grade, students will be able to “assess how social policies and economic forces provide systemic privileges or inequalities in access to social, political and economic opportunities for identity groups in education, government, health care, industry and law enforcement”.

High school students will be expected to “examine experiences, activism, and legislation impacting LGBTQIA+ communities,” as well as “analyze the complex relationship between dominant cultures and minority groups throughout world history, including, but not limited to, constructs of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, differing abilities, nationality, social class, religion, reactions and long-term effects of oppression.”

The standards will take effect in the fall of 2023. After hearing public feedback from hundreds of parents, teachers, and community members, the state Department of Education removed “references to sexuality, of communism, police brutality and gun violence following concerns raised by the public,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s spokesperson, Maddy Hayden told the Associated Press.

State House Minority Whip Rod Montoya called on school districts to “reject” the new standards.

“As local school officials, you are morally obligated to reject these standards and continue to serve your community as the autonomous school official for which you were elected,” Montoya wrote in a letter shared by Republican officials on Tuesday.

State Representative Greg Nibert, a Republican, criticized the new standards in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying they teach racism.

“I don’t believe it’s appropriate to teach and perpetuate hatred based on race (or any other basis) in our schools,” Nibert said. “If we are ever to heal our wounds and truly become a united nation, we must oppose instructions that would reduce any race or elevate one race above another. We are all created by humans to the image of our creator.”

Republican State Rep. Rebecca Dow, who is running for governor, called the new standards “divisive.”

“New Mexico is a state of friendship and united cultures,” she tweeted Thursday. “The last thing our children need after two years of social isolation is to learn that they are oppressors or oppressed because of their gender or race which they did not choose. “

But not all state lawmakers agree.

Democratic State Representative Roger Montoya, who shares the same last name but is not related to the State House Minority Whip, told Fox News Digital that he believed his colleague’s comments ” further divided” the new Mexicans.


“New Mexico has a rich, layered history,” he said. “It is essential that our students have the opportunity to understand the complexity and harsh realities of our collective past. It is so vital that students use critical thinking so that we do not repeat these actions.”

“I believe this call divides us further,” he continued. “One of the hardest things I’ve seen in the legislative process is the division between our parties, and I believe it’s a corner issue that doesn’t help us get the job done anymore. deep in building a better New Mexico.”

Fox News’ Matt Leach contributed to this report.