A controversial process to update Michigan’s K-12 social studies standards has cleared another hurdle. The Michigan State Board of Education has approved a draft document that supporters say reflects a more inclusive civic worldview.
In 2018, a proposed revision of Michigan’s 2007 social studies standards was presented in a series of public input sessions held statewide. The response was overwhelmingly negative. Many objected to the removal of terms such as “core democratic values,” while others fought the omission of historical references including the Ku Klux Klan and the March on Washington.
Deputy state superintendent Venessa Keesler says since then, a lot of work has gone into preventing bias in the draft standards.
“There was debate about, ‘are they political or are they not?,’” says Keesler. “I think a word that we’re maybe missing is ‘partisan,’ versus ‘political.’ They don’t have to be partisan to accurately represent the political viewpoints that are part of the standards.”
State Board of Education member Tom McMillin said the standards were too liberal and tried to send them back for more revision.
“Our whole nature; the whole free market system of our government, the freedoms we’ve fought for…they’re being attacked,” McMillin says. “And how is that happening? It happens when our education system forgets where we came from and begins pushing a more liberal, progressive agenda.”
McMillin’s motion was overruled.
The standards will go back out for public comment starting April 24.
Final standards are expected by June.