LANSING — State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township), a former high school social studies teacher, railed against recently-released proposed revisions to Michigan’s social studies curriculum. The draft standards, which set expectations for what students must learn in K-12 public schools, were developed with input from Republican state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Patrick Colbeck.
"The proposed revisions to our statewide social studies standards are absolutely outrageous, and nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to push an ultra-conservative agenda in our schools," Camilleri said. "It’s deeply concerning that a political candidate with no background in education would be allowed to co-opt a process that impacts millions of children in Michigan. I am disappointed, but not surprised, that he would try to rewrite history to match the deluded picture of the world he believes to be true."
Colbeck’s proposed revisions to Michigan’s social studies standards include removing references to the NAACP, climate change, Roe v. Wade, and minority groups including immigrants, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people. They also change references to the phrase “core democratic values” by removing the word “democratic.” It has been reported that Colbeck invited other conservatives to join the committee responsible for overseeing the revision process, and that no Democratic legislators or activists were included.
“Our students deserve to learn a frank account of our nation’s complex history, including our successes and failures," Camilleri said. "Our social studies classrooms are places where students can learn and better understand different beliefs and points of view in a safe environment. Politicizing this process and rewriting history to fit a partisan agenda only hurts our students by leaving them unprepared to understand and navigate the complicated world we live in. I sincerely hope that the committee members and officials at the Michigan Department of Education will closely consider public comments on these revisions and correct these colossal mistakes."