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Public comment period extended on controversial changes to state social studies curriculum

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

After a storm of criticism, state education officials are extending the public comment period on proposed changes to the state social studies curriculum.

The public now has until the end of September to share its opinion of the proposed changes to what the state will require be taught in Michigan schools. It’s the first major change to social studies standards since 2007.

But some people have objected to the proposal to reduce or eliminate references to the KKK, Roe v. Wade, climate change, and gay rights, among other topics. The proposal would even eliminate the word “democratic” from the phrase “core democratic values.”

The new standards wouldn’t prevent teachers from teaching about certain topics.  They just wouldn’t be required to by the state.

Teachers, students, and parents have packedrecent public hearings to voice their objections to the proposed changes.

“With the great level of interest in the development of the revised social studies standards, we are extending the public input time in order to continue reaching across the state for additional comment,” said Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles. 

Many of the controversial changes were championed by conservative state senator and Republican candidate for governor Patrick Colbeck. Though Colbeck complains of “inaccurate media reporting” for overstating his role in the revision.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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