Controversy over proposed teaching recommendations

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Revisions and updates to the Michigan K-12 Social Studies Standards has been going on for the past five years. Tonight local parents, teachers and community members got the chance to speak on what they think students should be learning in schools.

The meeting is part of a series of listen and learn sessions going on across the state.

Jim Cameron is a consultant for the Michigan Department of Education and says the standards were formed by multiple social studies task forces with guidance from the Michigan Department of Education. The task forces are made up of parents, teachers, students and community members.

“This is not MDE (Michigan Department of Education) sitting over the Hannah Administration building writing social studies standards, they’re parents, teachers and even some students,” said Cameron.

He added that a proposed draft was brought to the Michigan Board of Education twice, but turned away and told to gather more information.

Cameron described standards as something students should know and be able to do, but also isn’t so simple when it comes to deciding what that is.

“When you go back to Republican or Democracy or climate change or whatever, there’s a disagreement as to how much should be emphasized,” said Cameron.

He says the input from the public at these meetings will help shape the final outcome of the standards.

“We need to find that sweet spot where a majority of the people will support what we put forward,” said Cameron.

Cameron and other members in the crowd agreed that there should be cultural diversity in the standards and don’t want anyone to feel left out. Michelle Simms, says she’s familiar with not learning about her own background and wants to see that change for future students.

“For me, to not to have known, my own heritage I guess growing up, I kind of felt like I didn’t belong and so it’s important for me that my kids and the kids that I work for  right now, as they grow up, will learn about who they are, so they feel like they have a place,” Education Specialist for Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians, Michelle Simms.

Cameron added that the Michigan Department of Education will bring another draft to the Michigan Board of Education on June 11th and says he hopes there will at least be a vote.

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