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Democrats submit social studies bills to state Senate, aiming "for inclusion rather than deletion"

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The Democratic state senators say the bills would promote a fuller understanding of American history, and the important role people of color have played in shaping it.

Bills introduced by Democrats in the Michigan Senate would require teachers to discuss the country’s diverse communities, and their contributions to American history.

The four bills would require teachers to teach at least one unit about specific racial and ethnic groups, including Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Arab American, and Chaldean communities.

An existing bill would also require a unit on African American history.

The state senators say the bills would promote a fuller understanding of American history, and the important role people of color have played in shaping it.

State Senator Erika Geiss is the sponsor of one bill. She says this is a matter of teaching the truth about what she calls “our very intertwined collective histories,” and to give students a more accurate portrayal of the country’s true history.

“That is the direction that we should be moving in, rather than either outdated or inaccurate lessons and stories and depictions.

And to have a narrative that is more equitable, and much more inclusive. We’re striving for inclusion rather than deletion.”

Geiss says this is a response to Republican-sponsored bills that would restrict teachers' ability to discuss race and racism.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.