Six more meetings set on controversial Michigan social studies standards

Michigan Department of Education officials will be crisscrossing the state to listen to the public about proposed changes to social studies standards. If past meetings are an indication, they’ll get an earful of criticism. (Bridge photo by Ron French)

Michigan residents have six more chances to offer their views on a draft of new social studies standards – a draft that deletes references to gay rights, climate change and Roe v. Wade and removes “democratic” from “core democratic values.”

The Michigan Department of Education had originally scheduled 10 meetings for public input on the standards across the state. But public outcry over some of the proposed changes, first revealed by Bridge Magazine in June, led the department to delay approval of the draft and schedule more meetings.

Criticism of the proposed changes – some of which were recommended by state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, a candidate for governor, who served on a focus group reviewing the standards – has been swift and loud. As many as 200 people showed up to meetings in June about the standards, with the overwhelming majority opposed to the changes, according to MDE officials.

The State Board of Education was originally scheduled to vote on the standards in August. That vote has been delayed, with no new date set. Four democrats on the eight-member board said they would vote against the draft standards as currently written.

“We want to hear from residents across Michigan and get their feedback on updating the state’s content standards for Social Studies in our K-12 schools,” said Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles. “Interest in the proposed updated standards was so great that we decided to extend public comment and add these six additional input sessions around the state.”

The new public meetings will be held:                  

  • Kalamazoo: Aug. 8, 6-8 p.m. at Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium, 2432 N. Drake Road.
  • Ann Arbor: Aug. 9, 6-8 p.m. at Washtenaw Intermediate School District, 1819 S. Wagner Road.
  • Detroit: Sept. 13, 6-8 p.m. at King High School, 3200 E. Lafayette St.
  • Marquette: Sept. 18, 6-8 p.m. at Marquette-Alger RESA, 321 Ohio St.
  • Gaylord: Sept. 19, 6-8 p.m. at University Center of Gaylord, 80 Livingston Blvd.
  • Mt. Pleasant: Sept. 20, 6-8 p.m. at Central Michigan University Bovee University Center, 103 E. Preston St.

You can provide input online through Sept. 30 at by clicking the “Request For Public Comment” box. This accesses the proposed draft version of the standards and allows you to offer online comments.

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Kevin Grand
Mon, 07/23/2018 - 11:56pm

What's so "uncontroversial" about teaching what is written in our Constitution?

Unless someone has an agenda they want to promote?

Jim tomlinson
Tue, 07/24/2018 - 11:38am

Lot more to social studies than constitution. Colbeck politics are regressive

Kevin Grand
Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:54am

Our Constitution is the literal foundation on which our system of government is built.

If you cannot (will not?) start there, then what other details are you intent on playing around with?

That's a very slippery slope.

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 8:19am

Our constitution also grants equal protection and rights to all humans under our law. Yet we’re here arguing about whether or not to teach kids of the struggles minority groups have went through to earn small portions of those rights that right wing groups do t want extended to them.

You guys are insane, it’s sad to see how far you’ve been manipulated by propaganda over the last couple of decades. Nothing but Hateful, disgusting rhetoric from the right these days.

Jim Cameron
Tue, 07/24/2018 - 8:36am

The Ann Arbor L&L at Washtenaw ISD address is
1819 S. Wagner

NOT 31819 S. Wagner

Commander Leski
Wed, 07/25/2018 - 11:52am

The uproar is over not pushing a leftist agenda. Will this new curriculum refer to all who come in this country 'immigrants' or will it properly define illegal vs legal? When it speaks of gay 'rights', will it mention that time and many individuals have viewed marriage as being between a woman and man? Will this new curriculum explain that many feel life begins in the womb, and that abortion is murder? I have no problem with any of these topics being discussed, but discussed in the classroom fairly, which in this current climate is damn near impossible without being either silenced, shouted down, or labeled as a homophobe, xenophobe, racist, or some other word ending in -phobe or -ist.

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 8:16am

Don’t you think by teaching kids lessons of history about the struggles people went through would include the “other side”.

When you teach that people fought for their rights to marriage equality, choice, equal civil rights etc. don’t you think that would include the fact that some people out there do not wish to grant full rights to lgbtq, women, and people of color?

By teaching their struggle you also teach of heir oppressors views, otherwise there would be no reason to even to teach of their hard fought battle for equal rights.

Kerry Mulso
Wed, 08/08/2018 - 3:55pm

These suggested modifications are screaming Christian agenda. Nobody is being fooled. Any parent who is uncomfortable with gay rights and climate change needs to send their kids to a Christian school and not a public school that, as a property tax paying gay person, is funded by ME.