Gay rights, climate change could disappear from Michigan social studies

By Lori Higgins

Potential changes to Michigan’s school social studies standards are stirring controversy because they remove references to Roe v. Wade, gay rights and climate change while trimming references to the role of the NAACP. The revisions also eliminate the word “democratic” from the phrase “core democratic values.”

Much of the controversy has centered on Republican state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, who has faced mounting criticism since Bridge Magazine published a report last week that described the revisions — of standards adopted by the State Board of Education in 2007 — as having a conservative bent, thanks to Colbeck and several other conservatives who were part of the process.

Colbeck clearly influenced the removal of language on climate change, the removal of “democratic” from “core democratic values,” and a change in language from describing the U.S. as a constitutional democracy to a constitutional republic. He also insisted that if there were references to civil rights for gays and lesbians and other members of the LGBTQ community, that the department include language about religious freedom.

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