October 25, 2018
Climate change, LGBTQ Americans, a woman’s right to choose, and even democratic values are among the issues that conservatives in Michigan do not want mentioned in public school history classes, according to new social studies standards authored by a state senator. Advocates for science and reason at the Center for Inquiry are urging Michigan residents to speak up and refuse to allow partisan politics to sabotage students’ education.
New social studies standards for Michigan schools delete all references to gays and lesbians, climate change, and Roe v. Wade, and even eliminate references to “core democratic values” for alleged “implied partisan leanings.”
The new standards, developed by State Sen. Patrick Colbeck and influenced by a group of conservatives, also heavily diminish the role of civil rights groups such as the NAACP and the destructiveness of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. The standards also delete all references to the actual groups fighting for their rights, and adds, “The expansion of rights for some groups can be viewed as an infringement of religious rights and freedoms of others.”
“This kind of hyperpartisan meddling in education is designed to make students ignorant of the great struggles for progress and equality that have defined who we are as Americans,” said Jennifer Beahan, Executive Director of CFI Michigan. “If Sen. Colbeck wants to imagine he lives in an America where climate change doesn’t exist, where civil rights are considered an inconvenience, and where ‘democratic’ is a dirty word, so be it. But his personal opinions don’t belong in our education standards.”
These proposed standards will be open to public comment until June 30, so Michigan residents still have a chance to weigh in on the issue before the standards are adopted.
“We can’t allow a handful of right-wing politicians erase our history, and keep our kids from understanding the real world as it actually is,” said Beahan. “We can’t let this slide. We’re urging everyone to make their voices heard now, to submit their comments to the State Board of Education to make sure they know that we won’t stand for alternative facts in our public school classes.”
The Center for Inquiry, which works to foster a secular society based on reason and science, has also been working to counter attempts by Arizona education officials to erase evolution from public school science standards in order to open the door for creationism in the classroom.