SANTA FE – New Mexico education officials are asking for public comment on their overhaul of the social studies curriculum.
It’s the first major revision of what children are meant to learn in history, geography and civics since 2001.
The new standards add historical events since the last update, including the 9/11 attacks and the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is beyond time for this update,” said acting New Mexico Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus. “In social studies, that includes a fuller understanding of the many cultures that together make New Mexico unique.”
The current curriculum requires an understanding of a group broadly defined as “Native Americans,” almost always in comparison to Anglo and Spanish settlers. The new curriculum would require students to understand more about Navajo, Pueblo and other tribes.
The proposed curriculum would also require high school students to study the history of the LGBTQ rights movement and the AIDS epidemic, which are not mentioned in the current curriculum.
New Mexicans have 46 days to comment on the new curriculum.
The Republican Party of New Mexico issued a written statement Thursday urging school boards and the public to oppose the proposed curriculum. Without citing specific examples, the statement contends the changes contain “critical race theory teaching and a bias toward progressive/liberal themes.”
After the comment period, the state will have the chance to incorporate feedback before it’s implemented in the 2022-2023 school year.
Journal staff contributed to this report.