Educators have more time and additional opportunities to provide feedback to both the state and MEA on controversial proposed changes to Michigan’s K-12 social studies standards.
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has extended the deadline for submitting online comments and added new dates for in-person feedback. In addition, MEA wants your thoughts on the proposed standards to help guide a formal position statement the union will be submitting. Visit MEA’s Action Network page to view the standards and share your feedback with us.
Proposed changes pushed by conservative Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) have sparked criticism and heightened public interest in the debate over what children should learn about history and human society from kindergarten through high school.
Among the changes under fire: references were cut to the Ku Klux Klan, NAACP, LGBTQ rights and climate change. The word “democratic” was removed from the phrase “core democratic values” in every reference throughout the standards in an attempt to be more “politically neutral,” according to Colbeck, who lost his bid for the governor’s race in this week’s primary election.
New dates for MDE meetings on the standards include August 8 in Kalamazoo, Aug. 9 in Ann Arbor, Sept. 13 in Detroit, Sept. 18 in Marquette, Sept. 19 in Gaylord, and Sept. 20 in Mt. Pleasant. Click here for details on dates and locations.
You can also view a side-by-side comparison of the standards and submit feedback online through Sept. 30.
Since news reports first emerged of the political nature of some changes to the standards, crowds of protesters grew at MDE feedback sessions.
MEA President Paula Herbart weighed in on the debate in her “Labor Voices” column in the Detroit News, arguing “Our children deserve to learn about and from our past without political interference.”
And many MEA members have added their voices to the discussion, including South Lyon social studies teacher Keith Kindred, who recorded an essay on the subject for Michigan Radio.
Kindred told listeners, “If you are not familiar with this issue, there is no other way to put it: Right-wing conservatives with extreme views hijacked a review of these state standards in an attempt to force their worldview on all of Michigan’s children who attend public schools.”
Visit MEA’s Action Network page to submit your ideas for MEA’s formal response.