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Michigan social studies standards will keep references to climate change, LGBT rights after all

books, notebook, and chalkboard
The new social studies standards will keep references to social movements that conservatives wanted to reduce.

The State Board of Education will vote Tuesday on a new set of social studies standards, after months of contention. 

In spring 2018, Republican State Sen. Patrick Colbeck and other conservative lawmakers stripped the proposed standards of references to climate change, Roe v. Wade, and LGBT rights, and reduced the number of references to the KKK and the NAACP. 

Conservatives also proposed that the word "democratic" be taken out of the phrase "core democratic values," and "democracy" be replaced with "republic" when describing American government. 

Colbeck statedhis intent was that these changes would ultimately “remove partisanship from the classroom” and move students towards a more "politically neutral" dialogue that offers a balanced view of historical issues.

However, there was instant backlash after Bridge Magazine reported on the changes. The public outcry lead the Department of Education to hold public meetings about the new curriculum throughout the state. The majority of comments were made in opposition to the proposal.

As a result, the document that the board will vote on has none of the changes proposed by conservatives. And since Democrats won a majority on the board in statewide elections last November, the draft will likely pass.

The last major revision of the state social studies standards was over a decade ago. While teachers are able to make their own curriculum, the standards are in place so each school district can "revise curriculum and create a foundation from which it can continue to improve instruction."

Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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