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Conservative politicians aim to scrub climate change, LGBTQ history from social studies curriculum

kids at a desk
Mr. Ullman's Class
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
A group of conservative leaders is proposing new changes to Michigan's K-12 social studies curriculum.

Gay rights, Roe v. Wade, climate change and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). These are just a few of the references that state Senator Patrick Colbeck and a group of conservative leaders hope to eliminate from K-12 public school social studies curriculum.

Lindsay VanHulle, Capitol reporter for Bridge Magazine, joined Stateside’s Lester Graham to discuss her recent article, ‘History gets a conservative twist in Michigan Social Studies standards,’ co-authored with Ron French.

Colbeck, who is running as a Republican gubernatorial candidate, hopes that these changes ultimately “remove partisanship from the classroom” and move students towards a more "politically neutral" dialogue that offers a balanced view of historical issues.

Throughout this process, Colbeck was joined by representatives from the Great Lakes Justice Center, Citizens for Traditional Values, and an Oakland County Circuit Court judge, among others. 

Credit Photowire / Senator Patrick Colbeck
Senator Patrick Colbeck
Gubernatorial candidate and 7th district State Sen. Patrick Colbeck hopes that changes to social studies curriculum provides students a more "balanced" history.

The group has proposed that the new curricula standards remove explicit mention of gays and lesbians, "core democratic values," and the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Colbeck argues that climate change is “not settled science” and should also be removed. Other notable changes include reduced references to the Klu Klux Klan.

Over the past four years, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) utilized the national College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies to determine what students are expected to learn at each grade level. Should these changes become finalized, teachers would still be allowed to supplement their daily lesson plans with the deleted subject matter.

The changes have not yet been approved by the State Board of Education. The final version of the proposed social studies standards is available for review and online public comment until June 30, 2018. The Michigan Department of Education is also holding future in-person meetings in Cadillac, Flint, Saginaw, Waterford, and Sault Ste. Marie.

Listen above for Stateside's full conversation with Lindsay VanHulle.

This post was written by Stateside production assistant Gabrielle Horton.

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