How Rhode Island’s Social Studies Standards Teach Radical Activism Instead of America’s Birthright of Liberty
Providence, RI – The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in partnership with the Civics Alliance, today released a report entitled, “Taken For a RIDE”, which presents a detailed critique of Rhode Island’s Social Studies Standards (Standards) as proposed this past December by the RI Department of Education (RIDE).
The 54-page report, subtitled, “How Rhode Island’s Social Studies Standards Shortchange Students,” documents in detail how Rhode Island’s educational establishment plans to systematically “teach students to hate their country, its history, and its ideals, and to know only distorted tatters of the history of the world,” while also making an argument for substantially modifying or entirely replacing the Standards with a more historically accurate and widely acceptable set of standards.
“The Standards is neither by the people of Rhode Island, nor of the people of Rhode Island—but it nevertheless will be imposed on the people of Rhode Island.”
Released just one day after the Center exposed how RIDE is also pushing an age-inappropriate and over-sexualized K-12 student health curricula, “these incompetent and misguided social studies standards are further evidence that RIDE has proven itself wholly irresponsible and unworthy of the authority granted to it by the General Assembly in 2019,” said the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse. “Lawmakers must repeal that statute, which has been grossly exploited by commissioner Angelica Infante-Greene and her staff.”
The well-documented report, which can be viewed at RIFreedom.org/RIDE, includes dozens of source footnotes, appendices, and links to source documents.
Taken For a RIDE contends that the Standards being proposed to establish Social Studies curriculum for all K-12 public schools in RI improperly de-emphasize historical truths about the founding and development of our country and emphasize instead radical, negative aspects of our history, which could result in students having an incomplete and distorted perception of the United States.
“In the long run, of course, Rhode Island will suffer most because its children will have been educated to hate their country. But the Standards will be quite effective in the short run in degrading every aspect of Rhode Island’s K-12 social studies instruction.”
The report is critical of the content, methodology, and process used by RIDE to create the proposed curriculum guidelines, stating “they have produced a document that is bloated, vague, riddled with errors, distortions, and absences” without the legally required public comment or legislative review.
“Rhode Island’s citizens deserve excellent social studies standards,” said David Randall, report author and Executive Director of the Civics Alliance. “Rhode Island citizens and policymakers should work at once to make all the statutory and administrative changes necessary to make sure that RIDE crafts proper social studies standards for their children – standards that educate Rhode Island’s children to know and to love their American birthright of liberty.”
Alternately, Randall and the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity advise that an already established set of curriculum guidelines created and vetted by the Civics Alliance and the National Association of Scholars – American Birthright – should be used as the basis for Social Studies curricula in Rhode Island.
Stenhouse calls upon state legislators to repeal the 2019 law; upon school districts to reject the Standards; and for Rhode Island citizens to insist that RIDE overhaul the guidelines in compliance with the legislation that mandates how the process must be done, including a proper period for public review and comment, before it’s too late.
“Rhode Island parents are encouraged to pressure their local school districts to find a legal way to reject RIDE’s bogus social studies standards and, instead, adopt the well-balanced and historically accurate American Birthright standards, which will appeal to a broad majority of parents and Americans,” concluded Stenhouse.
Joint Publication: The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity and the Civics Alliance have issued this report jointly. The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, which is a member of the American Birthright coalition, works to forward the best public policy within the state of Rhode Island. The Civics Alliance works to improve K-12 social studies education nationwide, especially along the model of American Birthright: The Civics’ Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards. The two organizations have joined together to produce this report, both to improve social studies standards in Rhode Island and as part of a larger campaign to improve American K-12 social studies education.
Author Biography: David Randall is Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars and Executive Director of the Civics Alliance. He served as Publication Coordinator for American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards (2022). His academic publications include The Concept of Conversation: From Cicero’s Sermo to the Grand Siècle’s Conversation (2018) and The Conversational Enlightenment: The Reconception of Rhetoric in Eighteenth-Century Thought (2019).