Michigan Republicans To Ratfuck Social Studies Class
Michigan state Senator Patrick Colbeck is hoping to snag the GOP nomination to run for governor, but it's proving to be difficult, as the last time anyone checked, he only had about 4% of the vote. He's already been criticized nationally for accusing Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Abdul El-Sayed of being part of some elaborate conspiracy to establish Sharia Law in the United States. He's also been described as a "a pathetic, bigoted fool" by Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon.
And yet, for some godforsaken reason, he has been an instrumental part of a committee to create standards for public school social studies classes. Surely, this is just the kind of person we want in charge of educating children.
As reported by The Bridge, Colbeck is part of a group of several prominent conservatives who helped to rewrite the state's current social studies standards with some incredibly strange and creepy proposed standards of their own.
The first thing they want to get rid of, of course, is the term "core democratic values" -- because Colbeck and friends are somehow entirely unaware of the fact that the term "democratic" has a definition apart from the Democratic Party:
"They had this term in there called 'core democratic values,'" Colbeck said. "I said, 'Whatever we come up with has to be politically neutral, and it has to be accurate.' I said, 'First of all, core democratic values (is) not politically neutral.' I'm not proposing core republican values, either."
Well, technically he is -- if you consider a core Republican value to be
not knowing what words mean. Which, at this point, I absolutely do.
As explained by The Bridge:
The d-word in "core democratic values" pertains to America's system of democracy, not to the Democratic Party. Core democratic values generally include fundamental beliefs and constitutional principles, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Does he also think everyone on the Boston Celtics is Irish? Or that everyone on the Chicago Bulls is ... literally a bull?
As ridiculous as that is, it gets worse! The proposed standards will also eliminate all references to the KKK, most references to the NAACP, all references to LGBTQ+ people, and all references to Roe v. Wade:
The one reference in the current standards to the Ku Klux Klan is cut, with the KKK relegated to a single mention in a list of optional examples high school history teachers can consider using when teaching about social issues between 1890 and 1930.
Five existing references to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have been cut, with a lone reference remaining in a section on the 1920s on its "legal strategy to attack segregation."
The two references to gays and lesbians in the current standards, in sections dealing with the fight for rights for minority groups, have been deleted.
Both references in the current standards to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, are removed.
According to Colbeck, the KKK references were scrapped because "focus group" members didn't want to sully the Democratic Party in that way:
The KKK references were scrubbed because some focus group members did not want KKK associated with Post Civil War Reconstruction Era policies of the Democratic Party. The truth is that the KKK was an anti-Republican organization. @DineshDSouza @seanhannity #HillarysAmerica https://t.co/NXsYu4UHHD
— Patrick Colbeck (@pjcolbeck) June 12, 2018
This only makes sense -- given that exactly no one is out there denying that the Democratic Party was pretty damned racist and the party of the Confederacy back in the day -- when you take into account that Colbeck initially wanted to tell students the KKK was not an anti-black organization at all, but rather an anti-Republican organization, and black people just happened to be Republicans at that time, so going after them was entirely incidental. Which is quite the story!
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Another proposed standard will eliminate pretty much all discussions of civil rights and liberties for everyone, including people with disabilities, and replace them with a discussion of how those rights have hurt those in power:
The new proposal includes teaching "how the expansion of rights for some groups can be viewed as an infringement of rights and freedoms of others." Colbeck told Bridge he added that phrase.
Is someone mad he can't park in the handicap space? Sounds like!
And, of course, the proposed standards would eliminate climate change, because of course they would:
References to climate change are cut in the proposed standards, with the impact of man on global warming limited to an optional example sixth-grade teachers can use when discussing climate in different parts of the planet. (The standards retain a more generic reference to teaching how "human actions modify the environment.") In notes Colbeck sent to the state board, the former aerospace engineer argues that climate change is "not settled science."
The currently accepted standards, by the way, are nothing like Colbeck's proposed suggestions, which also demand the elimination of all discussion of "diversity" and "justice" and call the Southern Poverty Law Center a hate group.
The standards were initially created by a variety of experts and educators around the state, including people from different ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. However, in response to those standards, Colbeck made a list of his own demands, and rather than telling him to go screw, the State Board of Education brought him and several other conservatives, many of whom he handpicked, onto a committee of 21 people to help revise them. Casandra Ulbrich, a Democratic member of the board, says this was done because there was a threat that if they were not included, the legislature might simply try to enact its own standards.
There were not, of course, any Democratic legislators or activists on the committee.
Now, teachers would still be allowed to create their own curriculums and include the topics eliminated by the standards themselves, but this is still a rather big deal because these standards cover what each student is expected to learn regardless of who their teacher is or where they attend school.
This is not yet written in stone. There is no rush, Ulbrich says, to vote on this -- and until June 30th, Michigan voters can share their opinion on the proposals with the board online here. Hot tip, there's probably no way they can actually tell if you are actually from Michigan or not. But, if you do live in Michigan, you can also voice their displeasure in person! Which we hope you will do! Because this is bad. It is very, very bad!
Cadillac, 6-8 p.m. June 13, at the General Education Building of Wexford-Missaukee Intermediate School District, 9905 E. 13th St.
Flint, 6-8 p.m. June 18, at the Erwin L. Davis Education Center of the Genesee Intermediate School District, 2413 W. Maple Ave.
Saginaw, 6-8 p.m. June 19, at Saginaw Intermediate School District, 3933 Barnard.Waterford, 6-8 p.m. June 20, at Oakland Intermediate School District, 2111 Pontiac Lake Rd.
Sault Ste. Marie, 6-8 p.m. June 26, at Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, 315 Armory Place.
These people are literally trying to make children stupid for the purpose of advancing their political agenda. They are trying to control the past in order to shape the future.
We must not let them.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse