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Michigan Board of Education approves new social studies curriculum

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

The Michigan Board of Education approved controversial new social studies curriculum standards Tuesday.

It’s the first update since 2007, but it has not been an easy path. 

Educators and liberals slammed one proposal that included extensive input from Conservative groups.    The proposal approved by the Board was slammed in turn by Conservatives who claim it’s biased to the left.

“It’s shameful that elected officials would even consider this type of anti-American agenda,” former Troy mayor Janice Daniels chastised the Board before the vote.

Conservative critics contend the standards contain “inaccuracies” and anti-Christian bias.

Supporters dispute that assessment.

Erika Sponsler is a high school social studies teacher in Jackson County.  She likes the final document.

“We know they are not perfect. Nothing is perfect,” says Sponsler, “but what we appreciate most is the process that went into this.”

After the vote, several critics said they would be pulling their children out of Michigan’s public schools. 

One group left Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting happy.

Michigan’s Sikh community made an organized effort to make several amendments to the curriculum.    They were upset that their religion and its historical significance was not represented in the social studies document.

The Board approved the amendments the Sikh’s sought before approving the final package.

“Often times, history is taught from one perspective,  and there has traditionally been an exclusion of different perspectives,” says Dr. Imandeep Kaur Grewal. “It is time to correct that.” 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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