ST. PAUL (AP) - An administrative law judge has cleared the way for new standards on teaching social studies in Minnesota public schools.

Judge Barbara Neilson mediated a dispute between the state Department of Education and a group of mainly conservatives who criticized the standards for removing the role of God-given rights from discussions and unfairly called the U.S. a "democracy" rather than a "republic."

The conservative group included a number of Republican legislators and was led by Education Liberty Watch.

Neilson says the new standards are "needed and reasonable" and can be adopted for the 2013-2014 school year.

The department says the standards are the result of a series of public meetings and consultation with social studies teachers and experts.