State Senate Bills Would Require “Uncensored” Teaching of Declaration of Independence, Other Documents

Andrew Trzaska | November 18, 2013

A series of Michigan State Senate bills would require all public school districts to devote a week to covering the founding documents of the United States.

Proposed is a “Freedom Week” or “Patriot Week” where social science teachers would discuss certain civics lessons mandated by the state, including looking at the Constitution and other important historical documents without censoring or editing them. All three bills combined would fully achieve this.

Senate Bills (SB) 120, 121, and 423 may move forward for a vote after the Senate’s two-week Thanksgiving recess, which is currently underway.

SB 120 specifically discusses that the nation’s founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, must be given to students during Freedom Week without censorship.

SB 121 “encourages schools to designate and observe one week each school year as “Patriot Week” and include teaching of the sacrifices made by military personnel and their families, first principles and the founding documents,” according to a legislative report sent from the Michigan Association of School Boards.

SB 423 specifically discusses the teaching of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, as well as the Constitution of Michigan, and reiterates SB 120 by saying the documents must not be censored.

The Senate will debate the bills in December upon return from its current recess. It will have three weeks before its end-of-year recess to vote them through or vote them down, though Muskegon Superintendent Jon Felske was not certain it would happen.

“They potentially will not be much passing of anything, as there is much more discussion on these” and other bills the Senate will look at, including one that would replace a controversial color system for grading school districts with a letter system.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst