History gets a conservative twist in Michigan social studies standards

March 2019: Gay rights and climate change are back in Michigan social studies standards
Sept. 21 update: A final meeting, and Michigan’s social studies standards head for a rewrite​
July 23 update: Six more meetings set on controversial Michigan social studies standards

June 20 update: Crowds growing to protest changes to Michigan social studies standards

References to gay rights, Roe v. Wade, climate change and “core democratic values” have been stripped from Michigan’s new proposed social studies standards, and the historic role of the NAACP downplayed, through the influence of Republican state Sen. Patrick Colbeck and a cadre of conservatives who helped rewrite the standards for public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

While individual teachers develop lesson plans for their classrooms and could incorporate the deleted subject matter, state standards set expectations for what students are to learn in each grade. Standards are so important that the state has spent four years developing new social studies standards to update standards implemented in 2007.

Key changes to social studies standards

You can read proposed changes to Michigan’s K-12 social studies standards here. Words proposed for deletion are struck through, and words proposed for addition are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

The new standards are now being reviewed as part of a public comment period that ends June 30. The State Board of Education is expected to receive feedback on public comments in August. There is no date set for a final vote by the board, but its co-president Casandra Ulbrich, a Democrat from Rochester Hills, said she expects the board won’t rush a vote.

While the standards still could be tweaked as a result of public comments, the current draft bears the imprint of several notable Michigan conservatives who served on a focus group charged with making changes to the standards, according to several members of the committee and officials at the Michigan Department of Education who spoke to Bridge, along with Colbeck, who is running as a Republican candidate for governor.

Michigan government simulator: Play our You Be The Governor game and balance the budget

Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton Twp., is running for governor

“Some believed that even using the word ‘democratic’ implied partisan leanings,” said Rebecca Baker-Bush, a social studies consultant with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District who served on the standards committee and who is also president of the Michigan Council on the Social Studies. “That was a new one on me.”

Colbeck, R-Canton Twp., was “obviously an advocate for a certain partisan viewpoint,” Baker-Bush said. “But he was very willing to listen to others.”

Colbeck told Bridge he wanted to make the standards apolitical and that the standards now being used to guide curriculum in Michigan classrooms don’t offer students perspectives from both sides of thorny cultural issues. As one example of how a social issue can have two perspectives, he said the recent Supreme Court wedding cake case, framed as a same-sex marriage issue, also raises questions about the baker’s religious freedoms.

Notable changes in the proposed new standards include:

  • References to the Ku Klux Klan are decreased, from two to a single reference in eighth-grade, along with a mention in a list of optional examples high school history teachers can consider when teaching about social issues between 1890 and 1930. (Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story only listed the optional example mention of the KKK in the proposed standards.)
  • Five existing references to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have been cut, with a lone reference remaining in a section on the 1920s on its “legal strategy to attack segregation.”
  • The two references to gays and lesbians in the current standards, in sections dealing with the fight for rights for minority groups, have been deleted.
  • Both references in the current standards to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, are removed.
  • A high school standard about the expansion of civil rights and liberties for minority groups cut references to individual groups, including immigrants, people with disabilities and gays and lesbians. The new proposal includes teaching “how the expansion of rights for some groups can be viewed as an infringement of rights and freedoms of others.” Colbeck told Bridge he added that phrase.
  • References to climate change are cut in the proposed standards, with the impact of man on global warming limited to an optional example sixth-grade teachers can use when discussing climate in different parts of the planet. (The standards retain a more generic reference to teaching how "human actions modify the environment.")  In notes Colbeck sent to the state board, the former aerospace engineer argues that climate change is “not settled science.”

Another example Colbeck cited of his influence in shaping of the new standards is the deletion of the word “democratic” from the phrase “core democratic values.”

How to be heard on social studies standards

The Michigan Department of Education is seeking public input on new social studies standards. You can comment online up until June 30 here. MDE is also holding nine in-person meetings around the state. Four have already been held. Upcoming meetings are in the following locations:

  • Cadillac, 6-8 p.m. June 13, at the General Education Building of Wexford-Missaukee Intermediate School District, 9905 E. 13th St.
  • Flint, 6-8 p.m. June 18, at the Erwin L. Davis Education Center of the Genesee Intermediate School District, 2413 W. Maple Ave.
  • Saginaw,  6-8 p.m. June 19, 3860 Fashion Square Boulevard
  • Waterford, 6-8 p.m. June 20, at Oakland Intermediate School District, 2111 Pontiac Lake Rd.
  • Sault Ste. Marie, 6-8 p.m. June 26, at Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, 315 Armory Place.

“They had this term in there called ‘core democratic values,’” Colbeck said. “I said, ‘Whatever we come up with has to be politically neutral, and it has to be accurate.’ I said, ‘First of all, core democratic values (is) not politically neutral.’ I'm not proposing core republican values, either.”

The d-word in “core democratic values” pertains to America’s system of democracy, not to the Democratic Party. Core democratic values generally include fundamental beliefs and constitutional principles, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Still, at Colbeck’s urging, 13 references to “core democratic values” were deleted or changed to “core values.”

The new standards were originally written and reviewed by subject-matter experts from around the state. Last year, the State Board of Education asked the state education department to convene a committee of representatives of diverse ethnic and racial groups to take a final look at the standards.

James Muffett is executive director of Citizens for Traditional Values

The group included, for example, a representative from the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society. The committee also included educators from around Michigan.

Department officials invited Colbeck to join that group after the legislator gave the State Board of Education 13 pages of notes on changes he believed needed to be made to remove partisanship from the classroom, according to Linda Forward, director of the office of educational improvement at MDE.

The invitation to Colbeck was extended because of his intense interest in the topic, not to have a Republican legislator on the team, Forward said.

But Ulbrich, the Democratic state board member, said his involvement had political implications. “There has been concern that the Legislature could potentially step in and enact its own standards,” Ulbrich said. “That would have been inappropriate and possibly unconstitutional.”

Bringing Colbeck into the process was a way to make sure conservatives had a say in the standards and decrease the chances Colbeck and other legislators drafted their own, Ulbrich said.

Oakland Circuit Judge Michael Warren is chairman of Patriot Week

According to Forward, without the department’s knowledge, Colbeck invited other conservatives to join the group.

Among the 21 people on the committee, five are well-known conservatives:

No Democratic legislators or activists were invited to participate in the committee.

Jim Cameron, social studies consultant for the Michigan Department of Education and head of the social studies standards revision effort, said he did not recall who Colbeck invited to join the group.

David Kallman is a prominent conservative lawyer

Kallman and Muffett told Bridge that Colbeck invited them to join the committee. Warren said the education department invited him.  Mersino could not be reached for comment.

Despite the number of conservatives on the committee, education department officials and committee members who spoke to Bridge said they felt debates about the standards were balanced.

Colbeck’s original recommendations made to the State Board of Education in 2017 also included additional suggestions, including:

  • Soft-pedaling that the Ku Klux Klan was formed as an anti-black organization. “The KKK was founded as an anti-Republican organization not an anti-black organization,” Colbeck wrote. “It just so happened that the majority of Southern blacks were in fact Republican.”
  • Replacing a section on the limits of state power with a section on the limits of the federal government over the states.
  • Deleting all references to the “common good,” “diversity” and “justice” outside the context of courts, and a request to cut all recommendations made by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which Colbeck described as a “hate group.” (The Southern Poverty Law Center had no input into the standards, according to MDE’s Cameron, beyond rating social studies standards of all 50 states. The references to “common good,” “diversity” and “justice” in the current standards pre-date the SPLC ratings.)
  • Reducing references to Islam.
  • Adding a section on the erosion of religious freedom.

Erin Mersino is senior trial counsel for the Thomas More Law Center

Those recommendations were largely ignored, though the new proposed standards do cut a reference to the KKK that exists in the current standards.

“Patrick Colbeck told me he got about a 10th of what he wanted,” Muffett said.

Colbeck’s full recommendations, which are posted on his state Senate website, can be seen here.

Colbeck said he is satisfied with the draft standards, even though he didn’t get every change he wanted.

“Were they the ideal standards that I put out for everybody? No,” Colbeck said. “This came down to, ‘Let’s just make sure that our students hear both sides of the issue,’ and (it) came out all right.”

It’s not unusual for social studies standards to become embroiled in politics, said Lawrence Paska, executive director of National Council for the Social Studies, which represents social studies educators across the nation.

Prominent conservatives wielded influence over a draft of new social studies standards for Michigan schools. This image is one page of the document showing proposed additions and deletions.

“How we teach our collective past, our relationship to money, civic engagement, is inherently political by a degree,” Paska said. “The process of creating standards in social studies involves engaging multiple stakeholders to find a shared consensus.”

Muffett, of Citizens for Traditional Values, said he thought educators on the focus group would look at him and other conservatives on the committee “like we were Martians,” but that everyone was open to listening to differing opinions.

“For some of the traditional educators, having my side in the room made them think of things in a way they weren’t used to,” Muffett said. He cited an example of there being “nothing in (the standards) talking about people advocating for the rights of unborn humans, (so) why shouldn’t that get equal play with the homosexual lobby?”

Said Forward: “One of the things I’ve learned in this process is that people who are active in political parties on both sides of the fence ascribe meaning to words that the layperson may not. It’s important to listen to both liberals and conservatives and their points of view on topics.

“This process reflects our attempt, good or bad, to listen to the voices of many, some of whom might not be the voice I would normally reach out to, but recognizing it is very important to hear all those voices,” Forward added.

“The process reflects the importance of the topic. It represents our country.”

Ulbrich, of the state board, said she expects the board to make numerous changes to the language in the standards before they are approved. So does MDE’s Cameron.

“I anticipate pushback” on some changes,” Cameron said.

The public can attend one of five remaining MDE public meetings around the state (see box), or comment online on the new standards through June 30 here.

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Doug L
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:02am

Clearly, everyone involved wants to bias the standards to best present their personal point of view. But since Bridge seems too naive to notice, I'll point out that the expression “core democratic values” is indeed biased.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:36am

And how is it biased? If there had been a capital D then it would have been referring to the party, but since it's a small d it's referring to democracy as a thing, not the party. When one sees everything as a Republican or Democratic issue, one tends to use that filter even where it doesn't apply.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:35am

Clearly, you do not understand the difference between democratic and Democratic. Also, the term democratic republic must really make your head spin.

Rzadkowalski, Ronald
Wed, 06/20/2018 - 6:15pm

Sounds like he's insane. There should be no changes to these history books. There might be some additions, but history cannot be changed adn if you do that you are lying, Such an embarrassment to so many. Funny how he doesn't want anyone to know how the KKK killed so many African Americans by lynching them. To include young boys and girls whose only crime according to them was they had a different color skin. Y so important to not let students know exactly what the KKK did to people from sheer hatred?

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 12:45pm

It should have said, "core liberal democratic values," because that's what this country is, a liberal democracy.

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 3:33pm

The country is a republic. "To the republic for which it stands..."

a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

I teach history. I'm a liberal. I want these changes to be passed.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 1:20pm

No, it isn't. It's an adjective that, in this usage, has zero to do with the Democratic party. I'm so glad my child escaped Michigan schools before this witless nonsense descended upon them, but I fear for those who haven't.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 3:29pm

Well said. I took my son out of the public after the second grade and put him into a private school. Even though we couldn't afford it at the time it was one of the best decisions our family ever made.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 7:36pm

I fear for my grandkids.

Karen McCoy
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 7:37pm

Hear, hear!

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 8:38am

Well then I guess we should remove the word 'republic' from the pledge then since it is biased. smh
The words democratic and republic are not the same as Democratic and Republican. The fact that people think that is biased indicates what is truly wrong with education.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 8:44am

Apparently Colbeck had no problem with this edit and didn't feel it was biased. The edit below is fine, but taken together with the removal of "core democratic values" shows what is really at wokr here.

"Our constitutional <democracy> REPUBLIC requires active citizens"

Citizen Victory
Thu, 06/14/2018 - 9:07pm

Doug L is the reason *QUALIFIED* teachers need to be in the education field instead of the no-license hacks many Republicans are pushing for in our public schools--he doesn't even know the difference between Democratic and democratic. Sad.

When you revise history and demonize education, you get masses of sheep, too dumb to think for themselves, too lazy to do research or open a dictionary, and they blindly follow the rest of the herd off the cliff in a conga line of generational stupidity.

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 7:43pm

George Carlin addressed this many years ago:
"Obedient workers" indeed. And Colbeck is clearly a puppet who represents forces who know what democracy is and are using shills like him to gradually destroy it.

Donna Anuskiewicz
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:24am

In 1960 I entered Longwood College, located in Farmville, Virginia, the county seat of Prince Edward County, totally unaware that the local public schools had been closed the year beyond to avoid integration in classrooms. The only school in the county was Prince Edward Academy, an all-white school, established with state money.
What brought this tragic situation to my attention was the presence of three or four black children at the candy counter in a dime store at a time when they should have been in school. When I said something about the “little truants,” I was told that they had no school and received a mini-lesson in county and state politics. I was eighteen and learning the truth about the Old Dominion for the first time. I wept.
I blame part of my ignorance on my beloved mother who insisted that dinner conversations be free of discussions of race, politics, and religion. I also fault the education I received in Virginia at the time. I recall no discussions on the major topics of major topics of the day—Brown v. the Board of Education, Massive Resistance, and the struggle blacks endured. Nor did I learn about the horrors of slavery, the KKK, or the humiliations blacks suffered when they attempted to vote.
Fifty-eight years later I weep again for the mandated ignorance of Michigan children as struggles of blacks, the LGBTQ groups, women, and women are erased. We should all be appalled. We should all weep and then wipe our tears and act against this travesty.
Donna H. Anuskiewicz

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:49am

Thanks for sharing that story.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 4:30pm

Great story Donna. I feel sorry for your mother. Why did she insist on immuning herself and her family to the suffering of other human beings. Did she not realize that anyone who suppresses discussion of past violence, suppression, and Injustice, whether at a dinner table or in a classroom becomes an accessory. They are seeking to wipe out the victims memories as well as collective memory of the crimes. They are not neutral. They are accomplices. Did your mother also forbid discussion of the Holocaust?

Donna Anuskiewicz
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 8:46am

My mother stood up against my grandfather's anti-Semitism and made sure that her children did not share her father's views.

Allison T MacKay
Thu, 06/14/2018 - 2:36am

I was raised in Massachusetts, attended public schools 1-12 in a slightly higher middleclass town west of Boston, and went to college in Boston (grad 1980). This BS about so-called standards is pretty hard to relate to other than being a small-minded and dangerous misadventure. Part of what makes an education worth having is the chance to examine, bring and share new ideas, questions and criticisms to help make us all more worldly wise, exploring our country's history in hopes of helping people be capable of critical thinking. The influences and consequences and even damages of these conservative and overbearing criteria/standards are a surefire way to teach hatred and also misery, depending on who the student is. Our children will be the future so I feel they must be able to learn the how's and why's of who we are and how we got that way clearly and free of innuendos and misleading "standards". Knowledge is power but only if that knowledge is based on the truths available; without bias and with facts. REAL facts that these shmucks seem to be doing all they can to avoid seeing that happen. I'm appalled by this blatantly racist and misogynist mess this State is historically tainted with. It's already been poisoning and stunting young minds. SMH. I'm homesick now!

nancy driy
Tue, 06/19/2018 - 10:14am

I could have written your comment. And I too am home sick.

Jim tomlinson
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:24am

A new low

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:34am

LMAO (in a sad kind of way) at Colbeck thinking "core democratic values" = "core Democratic values"... proof that our education system has been messed up for a while... or maybe it's just our inability to look past the R or the D after a candidate's name rather than actually understand whether they're qualified for the job.

Amy Bloom
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:30am

Oakland Schools is also hosting a listen and learn session with MDE on these standards on June 20 from 6 - 8 pm. Please note that the cap and cut version provided for review is not an accurate cap and cut to what schools are currently obliged to follow. Instead, the MDE document is a cap and cut to proposed changes in 2015 that the SBE never adopted. What this means: 1. Many of the changes are not visible. To provide accurate feedback on the proposed changes will require individuals to look up the currently adopted standards. 2. Teachers and schools will each need to create their own documents showing the actual changes in order to align their curricula and common assessments.

Laura Le Fever
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:01am

It seems that there is an attempt to re-write and diminish history. I see this as a deplorable attempt to eliminate lived, seen, and documented actual history while downplaying the effects that climate change will have on our children's children in years to come.

Phyllis Barkley
Wed, 06/20/2018 - 2:49pm

I agree with Laura and so many others who are pointing out the group's goal seems to be elimination of historical and current social information. To what end are they doing this? What is wrong with receiving information surrounding educational facts, past and present, without judgement attached to them, to spark critical thinking and honest discussion? We have nothing to fear from learning the facts of major events in our history and from learning about current events, as well. Having access to that can stimulate our ability to learn and think critically; perhaps differently from those who came before us. It provides us with an opportunity to develop acceptance of others, and empathy for what others have experienced in the past and to help us stand for the rights of all. What is it about the committee individuals that causes them to try to exercise this kind of mind control? I am surprised and disappointed, especially with the professionals who serve the public, that this is what they want to do to our educational system.

Stephan B
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:06am

Bridge's characterization of the proposed standards as a "conservative twist" isn't quite correct. More than a twist, these changes are indeed twisted. They are blatantly racist, homophobic, sexist. Your readers would be well-served by a more accurate headline.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:09am


Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:09am


Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:16am

Republican Colbeck has a mission to sanitize and remove all references to the difficulties of the past which makes us who we are today - or should be. He on the other hand is perfect in every way and doesn't need the past to form new opinions about how our children need to be educated. History tells us that we are doomed to repeat past failures unless we pay attention to what has happened in our past as distasteful as it may be . New issues of today like Gay or LGBT reasonably and legally exist whether Republican Colbeck's ears are disfigured by them. He is preaching his personal biased position as a bible for all of us and our children. He doesn't have the right to use his bully pulpit to impose his biases upon our children. For example he feels there is a “jihad” plot to infiltrate the American government and wants to Soft-pedal that known fact the Ku Klux Klan was formed as an anti-black organization. He sounds like Trump on the KKK being a nice group of guys to have in your neighbor hood. Republican Colbeck is just another example of Republican Power Attempts to negatively affect our children and our lives for his own Republican wants.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 3:33pm

He is trying to "remove all the references to past difficulties"? No that would be the nut job mobs rioting and defacing historical statues they don't personally agree with.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 4:57pm

Assuming you are referring to confederate statues, perhaps if those statues wouldn't be placed in places of reverence and people weren't asked to pretend that those depicted weren't fighting for slavery, then it wouldn't be a problem. Perhaps they could be moved to a museum or other appropriate location with the correct placards showing their complex history. Not sure what you expect of people who have to walk by statues of people who fought for oppression of their ancestors. Rioting is clearly not right, but neither is willful ignorance and the refusal to see truth. But I suppose that maybe you personally agree with the confederates and their fight to support slavery. In that case, aren't you lucky to have the first amendment.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 7:56pm

Well, seeing as statues of Confederate officials are statues of men who committed treason against the United States of America, I see no reason they need to be celebrated in the very country against which they committed sedition. We certainly don't clamor for statues of British officials from the era of the American Revolution, that we might revere them for their passionate dedication to retaining their colonies.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 8:54pm

Those Confederate monuments were put up in the 20th century in an attempt to rewrite history. The Lost Cause movement tried to ignore that every single state that joined the Confederacy said maintaining slavery was why they joined it.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 3:57pm

First of all, let's be truthful and admit that academia, at all levels is more liberal than conservative, as things stand. We are not living amidst an under-representation of left-leaning values in public school curriculum. In which case, heaven help us if some small influence is made by a conservative.
Secondly, I find it surprising that none have really put together the misunderstanding regarding "core democratic values". Democratic in this sense is being used to represent the type of government that is instituted in the U.S. Unfortunately, most of the commenters here dont realize that we are a democratic republic. "Republic" is what we are. We live in a republic. We dont live in a democracy. "Democratic" is only a modifier meant to denote what TYPE of Republic we live in.
That said, let us briefly revisit the situation. Colbeck, would have actually been more true to what we are as a system of government, by using the term "core republican values" thanby using the term "core democratic values". But he didn't even argue for that position. He was willing to just use the term "core values". Some here, should be looking at that as a concession.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 5:38pm

1) Our government was created by individuals of the enlightenment period. As a result the way our government is structured, both then and now is more liberal than the current conservative thought would prefer. They overthrew a King, and the GOP just elected an individual who believes himself one. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/03/opinion/mueller-trump-executive-power... )

Let's not forget one of the greatest "liberal" presidents was Eisenhower!

The Republican party platform of 1956 said: "We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs—expansion of social security—broadened coverage in unemployment insurance —improved housing—and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.The Eisenhower Administration will continue to fight for dynamic and progressive programs which, among other things, will:
* Stimulate improved job safety of our workers, through assistance to the States, employees and employers;
* Continue and further perfect its programs of assistance to the millions of workers with special employment problems, such as older workers, handicapped workers, members of minority groups, and migratory workers;
* Strengthen and improve the Federal-State Employment Service and improve the effectiveness of the unemployment insurance system;
* Protect by law, the assets of employee welfare and benefit plans so that workers who are the beneficiaries can be assured of their rightful benefits;
* Assure equal pay for equal work regardless of Sex;
* Clarify and strengthen the eight-hour laws for the benefit of workers who are subject to federal wage standards on Federal and Federally-assisted construction, and maintain and continue the vigorous administration of the Federal prevailing minimum wage law for public supply contracts;
* Extend the protection of the Federal minimum wage laws to as many more workers as is possible and practicable;
* Continue to fight for the elimination of discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry or sex;
* Provide assistance to improve the economic conditions of areas faced with persistent and substantial unemployment;
* Revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker, and the public. The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the Eisenhower Administration. In 1954, 1955 and again in 1956, President Eisenhower recommended constructive amendments to this Act."

Now, that's MY kind of Make America Great Again!

2) When the constitution was signed and ratified, yes, we were a republic. But following the 15th and 19th amendment, we are now a democratic republic. If you insist on stating that it is a republic, then I insist that you wear your powered wig and pantaloons before venturing out in public.

Of course, you could choose to accept the reality of the current administration (and the Harvard Study) that states that the US is now an oligarchy. (http://www.businessinsider.com/major-study-finds-that-the-us-is-an-oliga... )

3) A current conservative mindset sees a "concession" as "doing it MY way" regardless of facts, science or law. The current "conservative" thought is based on greed, fired by ignorance.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:11pm

What are you smoking? More right winger nonsense. This dunce Colbeck wants to eliminate things he doesn't like and it blatantly moronic and racist. Just erase the NAACP and LGBTQ and climate change from existence because it bothers these racist pieces of trash. The GOP is a pathetic gang of partisan racists and unqualified imbeciles, and I can provide many details on any GOPer you would like, starting with the fat orange disgrace and traitor posing as POTUS. Bob Mueller will indict Trump in July, so far 23 indictments and 5 guilty pleas into GOP crimes during the election. This is reality and happening now. Bob just indicted Konstantin Kilminik, and Russian spy who worked with Manafort and the gang of traitors during the election, DIRECT PROOF OF COLLUSION AND TREASON RIGHT THERE. Go away MAGATS

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 3:36pm

Your post is factually inaccurate. This article is cherry picking liberal leaning examples that were removed from the parenthesis of the old version of the standards because it made the language of the standards too cumbersome. Teachers can still choose to add their own examples that fit the standards in the margin section which is where the examples have been moved to. In the standard about landmark supreme court decisions, you want to teach Brown, Roe, Citizens United... Go for it. These standards to not stop teachers from doing that.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:13pm

A concession in his mind and your mind maybe. But the function of social studies should be to inform students as well as engage them in the process. The style of government may be a republic, but we do, in fact, practice democracy. I vote, you vote, he/she/it votes. Democracy. We should not diminish the role of the individual citizen in the election of public officials simply because not every issue comes up for a broad vote.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:12pm

One point of clarification:

re: "The style of government may be a republic, but we do, in fact, practice democracy."

No, not exactly. There are few true democracies in the world. Brazil is one. On election day, EVERYONE gets time off to go and vote. If you don't vote, you must prove you were incapable of doing so, or dead.

We are a democratic republic, which means that everyone that wants to participate has the chance to do so. And then even that is tempered by the electoral college in the case of the President.

So: Democratic Republic. (disclaimer: Unless you live in a red state that works hard to suppress voters by eliminating names from voting rolls.)

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 7:37am

We live in a republic with core democratic values; order and freedom must be balanced to provide the most amount of liberty for all. Removing the "democratic" part leaves the door open for claiming that our nation's core values are other values which do not allow the same rights to others.

Mick DeRoss
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:21am

Good to know that Patrick Colbeck is anti-democracy. I look forward to his eventual trouncing by Schuette and Calley in August.

Bob Behrman
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 3:24pm

Awesome news, Sen. Colbeck will have my vote. MAGA!

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:15pm

Scratch a conservative, find monarchist tendencies.
Why bother having rights if you choose to give them away, right? History? pfffft!

Brian Fejer
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 3:26pm

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov, Column in Newsweek (21 January 1980)

Leslie C
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 3:35pm

Michigan children lose AGAIN at the dirty hands of the Republican party. Colbeck and his fellow parasites are going to omit everything his kind of people have done to impede the rights of people of color and women; AKA they are going to teach a PERVERSION of the truth in order to feel their racism is justified. Well isnt that just so MIGHTY WHITE OF THEM? Next thing you know he'll try to convince people its the christian thing to do. If this goes through parents need to step up and call BS on Colbeck and those aiding and abetting this assault on the truth.

Kevin Grand
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 3:37pm

If I had only read Mr. French's & Ms Van Hulle's piece without referring at all to what Sen. Colbeck had suggested, you might have had something.

But, I didn't.

Simply going to the first page of Sen. Colbeck's posted recommendation, not only nukes The Bridge's authors feeble attempt at spin, but calls The Bridge's "objectivity" into question as well.

From page one:

"Repeated use of the term “Democracy” to describe our system of government. Correct term would be “Constitutional Republic”. Please refer to Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, our Pledge of Allegiance and Ben Franklin’s words to Mrs.Powell at the end of the Constitutional Convention. Our founders deliberately avoided the creation of a Democracy as evidenced by James Madison’s explanation of the difference between a democracy and a republic in Federalist No. 10. While we have “democratic” processes such as elections, we do not have a “democracy” but rather a “republic” governed by the confines of our social compact called the Constitution."


If I had more time this afternoon, it would be child's play for me to decimate the rest of The Bridge's article.

The Bridge already got caught by a huckster playing with facts. At the very least you should consider an apology for attempting to impugn the man's reputation.


Ron French
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 5:39pm

Hi Kevin, thanks for once again reading Bridge and, once again, taking the time to type a comment. Perhaps you missed it in the article because as you said you are busy this afternoon, but Colbeck told Bridge that he felt "core democratic values" was partisan because of the word democratic. He confirms it in his next sentence to Bridge,when he said "I'm not proposing core republican values, either."

Thanks again for continuing to read Bridge regularly, and for leaving a comment on your 341st Bridge article.



Kevin Grand
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 6:58pm

I hadn't "missed" anything, Mr. French.

I had a friend send me the proposed changes to the science and social studies curriculums [100+ pages each, if memory serves) along with Sen. Colbeck's suggested changes (a little less than 20 pages each) a few weeks ago.

Had you bothered to read Sen. Colbeck's suggestions yourself, your "democracy" argument would not have been necessary, which begs the obvious question regarding why even bothered to go there in the first place? And if you're willing to play games with something right at the top of the very first page...well the rest is patient obvious.

If you don't like Sen Colbeck's recommendations, that's fine.

Directly refute them with FACTS.

I understand that this is an alien concept to those in the media.

But, it is significantly preferable, go say nothing about being a responsible journalist, than implying that Sen. Colbeck is something that he clearly is not.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 4:12pm

Michigan reactionaries with a chip on their shoulders are scheming to politicize education in order to pursue a radical agenda that dehumanizes women, gays, people of color, and immigrants. Are we going to let them get away with this? Michigan already has a mediocre record in education. What future will Michigan have? Who will want to raise a family here?

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 4:18pm

As a high school social studies teacher in the state of Michigan these changes are absolutely ridiculous. Not every time in American History is a time to be proud of. However, our students need to be able to make the connection that those times of hate, led to more rights for all Americans. I thank God that I am still in charge in that classroom and will still teach every one of these items. Education regarding women's rights, gay rights, African American rights and human rights should not be legislated by people who have zero classroom experience and haven't set foot in a Michigan public school in over 10 years.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 8:29pm

I have a great idea - why not let the experts on social studies instruction come up with the standards? They have spent the hours in the classroom learning about the social sciences; they are experienced in teaching said courses, and their only agenda is to Teach kids the facts they need to know to function as responsible citizens with open minds. They endure outsiders telling them how to do their jobs, when all too frequently those outsiders have neither the education nor the background to see that kids get a well rounded view of history. Let Teachers do their jobs and give them the support they deserve.

Another Teacher
Thu, 06/14/2018 - 7:40am

Agreed 100%! Finally someone points out the truth - most of the folks making the decisions don’t come near public schools yet assume they know everything about them. Teachers will do the right thing - we always do.

Ruth A. Lezotte
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 4:26pm

This is the same Trump/Pence/DeVos/ALEC BS spreading across the land. Unfortunately, they're being rather successful.
Hopefully the MDE will be drowned in responses decrying this insidious attempt to politicize state standards of ANYTHING!
For God's sake, VOTE in August and November.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 4:53pm

So glad I graduated years ago. Taking some of this stuff out of the curriculum is just plain bs. Like the KKK stuff and Roe v Wade. Those were important things. It's like they're eliminating. The only way the kids are going to know about this stuff is if the go to college

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 5:01pm

Lincoln said, "You cannot escape history." Pretending that things didn't happen, or glossing over the reasons why they happened, does our children a great dis-service. The history is still there;; the facts are still there. I was struck by the fact that there was no mention of the labor movement in the article, and I am curious to know if things like the Flint sit-down strike have also been expunged or neutered.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 5:10pm

What an embarrassment! Michigan has gone from being a leader in the rights of the individual, to one that is afraid of democracy! I am sure in no time that the know-nothing GOP there will be ready to eliminate that pesky bill of rights and revoke that problematic constitution. SHAME!!!

T. Cabe
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 6:10pm

This is absolutely b*******, Colbreck had too much influence, these changes are partisan, rascist, and homophobic. His influence will come back to bite him in race for governor.

Michigan Taxpayer
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 8:46pm

It's about time! These changes are long overdue. The programming damage done to our students over the last years is horrible. This is great, great thing. Way, way overdue fight with libtard agenda in our schools.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:02pm

We live in a Constitutional Republic. The only Democracy here is in our elected Representatives minus the President. Electoral is not democracy. We have rights that can not be voted away as in a democracy. Thanks for reading.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:19pm

Actually, they can be, based on the amendment process.

Possibly you should have paid more attention in Government class and Social Studies?

That is why the ACLU is critical: it DEFENDS the constitution of these United States.

Native American 314
Fri, 06/15/2018 - 7:12am

You can vote away things like how they amendment process works and a number of other things, but true human rights you can not vote away. If a group of legislators voted that I could not retain my right to liberty, it would have no impact on my actual human right as a free and sovereign being or entity.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:44pm

"Core democratic values" means democracy not democratic politics ! Come on...and why is this a partisan committee ?

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:58pm

Why is Bridge such a liberal rag?

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:23pm

Because the Truth and the arc of history has liberal tendencies.

Be glad and revel in it, as likely you would still be a vassal beholden to the lord of the manor.

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:08pm

Are you out of your damn idiot head Colbeck???

"The KKK was founded as an anti-Republican organization not an anti-black organization, it just so happened that the majority of Southern blacks were in fact Republican.”

Are you fucking mental or do you hope people in Michigan are just that stupid and/or racist? The KKK was formed in 1865. Black people got the right to vote in 1965. So tell me again how the majority of southern blacks were Republican you ass clown.

The KKK was founded as anti-Republican?? Maybe I misheard the last bunch of fat sheet wearing morons that stumbled down a street, I could have sworn they were shouting "WHITE POWER" but maybe they were saying "DEMOCRATIC POWER". Ohhhhh I see, so we teach kids the KKK were democrats. Check and mate. Well played sir.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:08am

Looking at the comments. At least 80 percent we're from the left of center. That probably says something about the bridge's readership.

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 8:56am

'we're' - were, 'the bridge's' - the Bridge. The Republicans are like middle schoolers when they think and write.

Lynn Mason
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 7:06am

First of all, if a sitting legislator was "very interested" in a committee/commission, why wouldn't that person simply be invited to attend, not placed on said committee? Then why would he/she get to add more? Poor procedures and inappropriate. All of legislators suggested changes should be pulled back.
Standards should be based on content knowledge, experience, facts, etc. Never based on emotion and bias.
Also, a candidate for Governor has an agenda! Period. Either remove his amendments and start again, or invite all candidates to make their personally biased opinions as well.

J. Marriott
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 7:51am

Dumbing down our children is not a healthy thing to do. Reducing and/or eliminating mentioning the KKK, Roe vs. Wade, LGBTQ, climate change etc. does not make them go away. We need to be telling them MORE about our real history and our real world, not less!

J Won
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 8:47am

Social studies is the study of our society. The KKK, Roe v Wade, LGBTQ, climate change are major social and legal issues of our past and our present! We shouldn't be eliminating mentioning these issues. They should continue to be studied!

Chuck Fellows
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 8:52am

Does anyone recognize the idiocy of dictating standards of knowledge to be learned by children in the digital age? In Social Studies children should be coached and mentored to ask the right questions and insist on competent answers as they pursue their learning - "their" learning, not ours. Curiosity, not partisan propaganda, should be the rule.
This article and the comments that follow fit "Plato's Allegory of the Cave", with the children being the ones that could escape the chains - if we let them. Standards such as these do murder the mind. Reference: https://mayooshin.com/plato-allegory-of-the-cave/

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 9:27am

This is Censorship! Stop rewriting history. Educate our children about racism, sexism, climate change, science, true democracy, government by and for the people.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 9:31am

“They had this term in there called ‘core democratic values,’” Colbeck said. “I said, ‘Whatever we come up with has to be politically neutral, and it has to be accurate.’ I said, ‘First of all, core democratic values (is) not politically neutral.’ I'm not proposing core republican values, either.”

So... should our kids stop pledging allegiance to the flag with the words "to the republic, for which it stands" as well? By Colbeck's standards, my kids start every day with Republican indoctrination.
There are meanings to both the word "republic" and the word "democratic" that do not mean the specific political parties.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 9:47am

‘First of all, core democratic values (is) not politically neutral.’

Frighteningly ignorant.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 10:14am

So, if we must longer use the terms 'democratic or democracy' as they are politically biased..........
We should also change the wording to our Pledge of Allegiance, as it states
" I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic......."
That statement could be construed as political as well.
History is history, good or bad, and trying to hide certain topics will not change that fact.

Andrew Thomas
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 10:54am

This article is wrong in many different ways. If everyone takes the time to read the changes it's hard to conclude that these changes do anything other than broaden the scope of what is to be taught. No portions of history are selected for deletion from the curriculum, they are allowed to be expanded on.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 10:54am

When you want government (which means politics!!) to run and provide anything and everything don't be surprised when the side you don't like brings in stuff you don't like! You'll reap what you sow.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 1:02pm

Those of us that teach AP (Advanced Placement) still have national standards that we must cover for the exam. Unfortunately for Colbeck and his crew, things like Roe v. Wade and Civil Rights aren't going anywhere and their pathetic attempt will get nothing more than a chuckle from us. I seem to remember a few years ago this standards issue became a national discussion when the Texas School Board tried to undermine Jefferson's importance because a few of them happened to be a fundamentalist who despised him for having his own Bible (where he took out the miraculous stuff. Smithsonian has it) only backing off when they became a laughing stock. It's a shame those ideological issues have seeped into the Michigan standards. I know some of the alt-right folks are more than eager to see these changes, but it will do little to stop those of us that have been doing this for a while to be deterred from teaching the students the truth.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 2:24pm

Are you sure you linked to the right document? I read the PDF linked in "You can read proposed changes to Michigan’s K-12 social studies standards here." and it doesn't match what you're claiming.

I see you already fixed the mistake about the KKK. That's good.

"Five existing references to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have been cut"
I can only find cut references on pages 96, 100, and 136, and all three references were part of an "e.g." parenthetical. You make it seem like the NAACP was a large part of the curriculum before. It was not.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:09pm

What the hell happened to Michigan? Becoming a scarier place each week and you are purposefully handicapping your children's education and opportunities in the world by filling their heads with this white supremacist, religious nonsense.

p gersmehl
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:40pm

I admit it - I'm an "outsider" recently moved to Michigan (I write educational materials and have been invited to help train teachers in 34 states and six other countries). I have read the standards in all 50 states and several other countries. I am dismayed by this article and many of the comments. Please, could we first READ the standards, and THEN make comments. In many cases, sincere comments like Donna's (and even the article's headline) are still off base, because people do not seem to realize that sometimes a "removed" item has simply been moved to another place, either in the example column at the same grade or a different grade level. Compared with most states, or the previous Michigan standards, these proposed standards are better - better for teachers, better for authors, and better for children. They will never be perfect, and they will never satisfy everyone, but the only question that should concern us is whether they are enough better than the old ones to warrant voting yes. Please think about that question - everything else is really pointless grandstanding.

Karen Miller
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:57pm

The Standard edits made by Patrick Colebeck are unbiased and a potential for improved delivery of K-12 Social Study material. It’s obvious that he’s eliminating questionable terms, based on semantics, as well as a list of discussion topics that may be irrelevant, age inappropriate and/or sensational. In addition, the edit allows teachers discretion, by supporting Standards in an appropriate and creative setting. The key is to “simplify.” The texts are too large, too wordy, too boring and too dedicated to core values to end up with much value to anyone. Colebeck does service to the State of Mi in aiming to restore it to its once great reputation in Education. And I have no doubt that he sees this amendment as but a drop in the bucket toward real innovation for our children, wherein “how to learn” instead of “what to learn” becomes the main objective. Let’s leave the politics to college..where hopefully kids are learned and open enough
to debate without retreating to a “safe space.”

Mark W.
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 5:14pm

Is there a lot of detail about the support and creation of the KKK by the Democrats. Democrats like Senator Byrd and others. 5 known "Conservative" people are on the committee...How many "Liberal/Progressive" voices are there? I think school should teach facts, not political rhetoric or political correctness. Political correctness is nothing but a form of censorship and infringement on our 1st amendment rights.

Mary Frederick
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 5:19pm

These proposed changes are shameful lies. Michigan needs to become a well educated state we are all proud to live in. At it is, we're near to the bottom of educational achievement. When I was in high school, we were in the top 10 schools educationally. This is a race to the bottom . It reads like these legislatures want the state's population to be at the bottom of the United States. Don't make these horrific changes!

Joy Neulieb
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 5:26pm

Twisted, that doesn't begin to explain this omission of factual occurrences from our children 's educations these folks want us to swallow. The folks that rewrote this should be ashamed. Omission does not make history more acceptable or true.

Billie McCamish
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 6:01pm

The removal of the above mentioned topics from the state social studies standard would make for ill informed citizens and reduce value of education in Michigan. Please think carefully before removing parts of history from the curriculum. Thank you.

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 7:58pm

There is so many things wrong with these changes. We should not have taken out the standard that are "biased" just because many people have different opinions on that. In my opinion, the words democratic or republic are not bias.

Kevin H
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 8:12pm

When I was a youngster in Michigan schools our history books left out a great deal. Things that were uncomfortable for conservative white folks didn't make it in. Luckily I was naturally skeptical and asked lots of questions and used the library a good deal. I was termed a "fulcrum" and branded a heretic for questioning social science from about 6th grade until I started university. What I'm seeing here in Texas where I now live is a very disturbing trend. Fewer and fewer on committees that make decisions are educators. In fact far, far too many lay people are involved. Many of them have axes to grind. When I was a kid the people that worked on and approved curriculum standards had doctorates from Michigan Universities. Lay people I don't think bothered to question much. I work in adult learning, training to be exact. I'm constantly fascinated by people who seem to be born trainers. Then I observe them in the act and find they really don't know what they're doing. Curriculum development is a specialty. As a curriculum developer who teaches curriculum development I can state with little equivocation that most lay people should stay out of curriculum development. We reach out to you when we need your advice and for review purposes. But the experts in the field, people who specialize in these areas of endeavor should be the subject matter experts and should decide the depth and breadth of standards. And therefore what goes into testing and what goes into learning materials. Not partisan lay people who are sometimes too lazy to delve into the details and look at a balanced view of a given topic.

James Boucher
Wed, 06/13/2018 - 10:04pm

I applaud the effort for a balanced curriculum of Liberal and Conservative views on our history. It seems to me that it started when I was in the fifth grade when the teacher told us ( I am now 76) that Washington was a Republican, and Lincoln was a Democrat. I already knew Lincoln was a Republican). I also had seen in the South, separate water fountains and rest rooms for Whites and Blacks. I did my part by promoting Black females to officer positions at the bank. I remain appalled at Michigan's rating of public schools in math and English nationally. Then I recall hearing a Detroit teacher on WJR who said she taught English, but could not speak it! I also read an article in one of the Detroit papers saying in Windsor (across the river in Canada), the best high school graduates become teachers, whereas in Detroit it is the opposite. I recall at the bank we had to hire either parochial school or Windsor grads. My mom finished high school and dad dropped out in ninth grade to support his siblings and parents. I went to Bangor Township, Bay City Public, Bay City Junior College, Delta College, Michigan Business, and Michigan Law. I was well prepared at each stop. I laugh but shudder when Jay Leno (and others) goes on a college campus and asks basic questions on our history and elicits the most ignorant, stupid responses. It is apparent we need to fix the curriculum and the trachers who present it. I suggest we need oversight by qualified college graduates of both parties to be sure we have a fair presentation to our students. Also, they should be empowered to call for investigation and discipline (including removal) of teachers failing to do this; with appropriate fines to Teachers Unions involved.

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 8:22am

If the word "democratic" is so distasteful to some on the board, try substituting the phrase "core values of democracy". Colbeck's "core values" is too vague and could be misinterpreted.

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:19pm

That "patriotic" Warren is disrespecting the American flag by wearing that bow tie. Look it up !

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:54pm

conservatives get angry when statues come down because its "erasing history". No, its removing a statue. Deleting references to history in history books is literally erasing history.

McKenzie McDonald
Thu, 06/14/2018 - 1:11pm

The thing that stands out most to me about the new state standards in social studies are the notable changes. They are claiming to make the standards apolitical, but you can't just delete history because you don't want students talking about it. America has done a lot of crappy things as a country, and I think students have the right to learn that, and hopefully not let history repeat itself. I didn't learn that Christopher Columbus didn't actually discover America until college. We need to stop feeding lies to our children and hiding the truth. America claims to have separation of Church and State, so teaching about abortions shouldn't be an issue and neither should the fight for gay rights. Michigan spent 4 years, but I think they should've taken a bit longer to perfect them.

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 1:57pm

Why are elected politicians even granted access to editing these standards? As Diane Ravitch pointed out in "Language Police" (2003) the only result from allowing politicians to edit standards is bad standards. Period.

Treva Kopriva
Thu, 06/14/2018 - 4:44pm

I'm appalled by the fact that this is even up for debate. Diminishing certain aspects of our nation's history is a sure way to perpetuate racism, homophobia, and misogyny. We need an inclusive curriculum that recognizes the accomplishments of minorities, not one that downplays the sordid history of organizations like the KKK. All of our students need to see representations of themselves in the curriculum. If we remove gay rights from the curriculum, what message is that sending to our LGBTQ students? That they're not important and that they couldn't possibly have anything to contribute. Though, I suppose that must be what Colbeck wants. Furthermore, the science is out there and it offers a great deal of evidence that climate change is, in fact, very real. Not educating our children about the harmful effects of global warming is insane and dangerous. Lastly, how on Earth does one propose the removal of "democratic" from "Core democratic values?" I hope for the sake of us all that Colbeck's proposed changes do not go through. If the standards are to be changed, it should be done by a bipartisan committee. The fact that 1/4 of the committee was conservative while no democrats were invited to participate is awful and I don't see how anyone could think that the debate was balanced. SMH...

Native American 314
Fri, 06/15/2018 - 7:07am

Would like to point out that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not democratic principles or values. They are human rights.

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 9:58am

As a political scientist who taught in Michigan community colleges for twenty-three years, I am appalled at the proposal by Colbeck's committee to eliminate references to historical events that have affected the lives of millions of Americans. With the kind of changes he wants to make, it would take me most of the semester that students study American politics in the introductory course to fill the gaps in their preparation and correct all the misinformation that they had absorbed. Those public school students who are preparing for higher education will be at a distinct disadvantage in trying to score well on SAT's and pass entrance exams if they lack basic knowledge of precedents established by Supreme Court decisions and have never developed the skill of arguing all sides of an issue.

I will highlight just one area for comment (although I could write for many pages on all the proposed changes). Colbeck does not seem to realize the extent of the involvement of the founders with the tenets of Islam and how important they were in the writing of the Constitution. Jefferson was a scholar who was well acquainted with the Koran and its emphasis on fairness, justice and equality, all "American" values. He studied it as a law student and probably had conversations with African Muslim slaves on plantations in Virginia. He knew that Muslims expect to have respect for the laws of whatever country they live in and that they stress obedience to God-- more American values. The attempt of Colbeck's allies to cut references to people who already constitute minorities of many school populations does a disservice to the ability of children in school to learn to work together and have respect for their fellow students. Add to that what all students will not know of history and social organization and Michigan students will not fare well.
Eliminating changes advocated by the Southern Poverty Law Center is going in the wrong direction since they take their mission to be isolating hate groups and promoting "teaching tolerance" as they name one of their publications. SPLC itself is definitely NOT a hate group.

I appreciate the privilege of offering my input to this proposal.

Sensible Teacher
Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:37am

I believe everyone involved wants what is best for our youth, so let us go with that premise as we look at this issue. If you look at the proposed standards and examples, you will see the standards are neutral and within the examples it states they are not limited to only the ones stated. Nothing is being removed nor are teachers being forced to eliminate major events in history. The standards are showing the general area of study, teachers are then able to bring in more specific historical information to support the standard. Let's be more intellectual, open, informed, and stay off the soapbox. We can get more accomplished for the people of Michigan.
I do agree more educators in the trenches need to be involved in the process, especially with taking the standards and creating the State testing, now there is a problem that needs to be addressed, especially when teachers and school districts are held accountable for test results. The tests do not correlate to what the standards propose be taught.

Ed Hominem
Fri, 06/15/2018 - 11:35am

Propaganda over documented facts - idiots are running scared.

Derek Vaillant,...
Sat, 06/16/2018 - 6:11pm

Qualified, professionally certified leaders in the fields of medicine, science, and jurisprudence establish codes, parameters, and best practices for their professional domains. It would be inappropriate for a politician to tell a surgeon how to remove a gall bladder or a scientist how to study plankton or a lawyer how to draft a living will. Likewise, professionally trained scholars and educators at accredited and nationally ranked colleges and universities should objectively guide the creation and implementation of accurate, high-quality standards for teaching our children in Michigan about U.S. and world history. Keep partisan politics out of what's left of the world of ideas in America. Let the professionals do their jobs.

Steve Williams
Sun, 06/17/2018 - 5:29pm

There is no such thing as core democratic values that is universally agreed upon or defined in foundational documents to our country. It is a collection of concepts that varies from person to person. Therefore, I agree with the deletion of reference to them in text books. I believe it is better to simply discuss each of these concepts without giving the student the impression that they are a hard and fast group of concepts and that those who feel differently are wrong.

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 10:07am

Love these changes! About time!

John S.
Mon, 06/18/2018 - 5:39pm

The United States is both a constitutional [representative, not direct] democracy and a constitutional republic. If there's confusion between democracy and Democrat and republic and Republican, then teachers need to do a better job teaching and students need to to a better job learning.

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 8:53am

Interesting comment on the Republican Party:

"In 1953, during the McCarthy era, the Republican members of the Indiana Textbook Commission called for a ban of Robin Hood from all Indiana school books for promoting communism because he stole from the rich to give to the poor."

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 10:09am

This screenshot is ridiculous. You cut out the right hand margin that has the "examples"
Which I'll include here.
"8.3.1 e.g., Executive Order
9981; Little Rock school
desegregation; Civil Rights
acts of 1957 and1964;
Voting Rights Act of 1965;
integration of baseball;
acts of civil disobedience
(boycotts, sit-ins, marches)
by key leaders such as
Martin Luther King Jr.,
Floyd McKissick, and
Stokely Carmichael;
strategies of the SCLC,
SNCC, and Black Panthers"

I'm a social studies teacher. And separately I am a Liberal. This rhetoric against the new standards is based on false information. The deletions are there to simplify the language of the standards to exclude specific examples; it's universally like that on both sides of political debates. The examples are in the margin, it's to make it easier on teachers!! But nobody is actually reading them!!

Jay Charles
Tue, 06/19/2018 - 5:39pm

Michigan already ranks 33rd in education. Now, Colbert and his followers propose ignoring istorical facts in favor of political propaganda will improve that standing. I don't think so.

Richard VandenBrul
Wed, 06/20/2018 - 10:41am

The auto industry, unions created the middle class. Two world wars. Big story impacting famlies, men, women and their relationships. Hudge!

Bruce Kezlarian
Sat, 06/23/2018 - 9:59am

I have read the revised social studies curriculum and have reached the following conclusions;
Senator Colbeck considers public schools dangerous because they serve as laboratories for democracy. The curriculum does not allow for critical thinking and thus undermines any notion of imagination. Education, or should I say, critical education, is needed to make certain that justice doesn’t die. The standards that I have reviewed do not, in any way, promote critical thinking.
What makes education a much richer experience for students does not come from a watered down, didactic test taking “training”, but rather from an open inquiry into the democratic process. Neutering the darkness we have been through can only insure that we will move quickly toward a more divided nation

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 2:16pm

Hmmm... this isn’t right. As someone who attended public school this monitoring of crucial events and historical information is extremely concerning to me. The beauty of public schools is that students get ample amounts of info and can apply what they believe to each aspect. You don’t have to believe in one thing over another, but by depriving children of info and events that shaped the United States, you are disabling them from even having an opinion in the first place. That is not what we stand for as Americans. If you want to heavily control and censor kids because they shouldn’t have to deal with these pressing issues then go find a different channel of information spreading and do not mess with public schools. If you ask me, this seems more like a personal agenda rather than a means of bettering our education. What a shame..

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Mon, 04/08/2019 - 9:12pm

Being 65 when I listened to my parents & grandparents talk about their run-ins with the KKK not once did the Klan ask if my relatives were Republican or Democrat, they were addressed as niggers. Sen. Colbeck has a very limited view of Afican American history.

John L.
Sat, 10/12/2019 - 4:31pm

While I dont agree with all the changes I am amused at the hubris displayed by people objecting to deletion of the word democratic. Its as if they are ignorant of the fact Democrats deem being referred to by that label as an epithet https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democrat_Party_(epithet) and are systematically portraying themselves as the only party with a sense of constitution and morals. Do you really think schoolchildren will make the distinction of whether or not the D is capitalized? Give me a break. I have seen this presented repeatedly about "core democratic values" then democrats insist that being called anything but the democratic party is an insult. A good way to bring us all together and find middle ground would be to stop patronizing people about the way youre advancing your agenda.

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