Conservatives, Education, Michigan Republicans, Tea Party — June 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Michigan Republican Colbeck still worried kids are being kept from learning American history


Draped in a flag, carrying a cross

The funny thing about so-called “small government” Republicans is their hypocritical desire to pass more and more laws, many of them with no purpose (like the Senate resolution that was passed last week “to express support for the state of Michigan officially recognizing September 19, 2013, as International Talk Like a Pirate Day”.) Michigan Senator Patrick Colbeck introduced legislation earlier this year to prevent what he sees as the censorship of American history in our schools. He’s back at it again with a new bill that authorizes the teaching of American history. It’s yet another solution looking for a problem to solve.

His bill, Senate Bill 423, authorizes the display of all manner of historical documents in schools:

  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Constitution of the United States
  • The Magna Carta
  • The national motto
  • The National Anthem
  • The Mayflower compact
  • The Federalist Papers
  • The Anti-Federalist Papers
  • The Bill of Rights
  • The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States
  • The Northwest Ordinances

He also wants to ensure that schools teach “the core principles of the Declaration of Independence” (his bill lists sixteen of them) and “the core principles of our state constitution” (he lists nine of those.)

Finally, he wants to be sure all state-mandated testing includes questions about these things.

Why? I’m not really sure. So far as I know, none of this is currently prohibited. So far as I or anyone else I know can tell, it’s just Colbeck asserting his “more patriotic than thou” ethos, proving to his tea party base that he’s a true patriot.

Here’s what I said about Colbeck’s efforts in the past:

Senator Colbeck isn’t accomplishing anything of significance with these phony displays of patriotism. He’s attempting to solve yet another problem that doesn’t exist. Our children aren’t being denied access to the teachings or writings of the “Founding Fathers” based on religious censorship any more than President Obama is a tyrant akin to the King of England in 1776 despite what the good Senator may want you to believe. These are empty gestures that simply shore up his support among the most rabidly conservative and politically active tea partiers in his district and will help him avoid a primary.

We have problems in Michigan. Big problems. Real problems. Many of them are taking place right outside of Sen. Colbeck’s southeastern Michigan front door. While these problems fester and become worse day by day, Senator Colbeck is wasting our time and our tax money on demonstrations of faux patriotism.

One thing is very, very clear: the 7th Senate District needs new leadership.

I’m finding it hard to add much of anything to that.

And, seriously, dude. The Northwest Ordinances???

  • SCU

    Dems should offer an amendment to add the Emancipation Proclamation, FDR’s Four Freedoms speech, and MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail to that list – and dare Republicans to strike that down.

    • Love it!

    • Nate

      Try reading the bills SCU…. you might see some of those suggestions are ALREADY LISTED…

      • No they’re not and I HAVE read the bill. Nice try, though.

        • wmrharris

          What they do is put it in weasel words, “and others….” clearly not the intent.

          • Nate

            Well, I apologize. I must have followed a link to you other post… I was reading SB 121, which does contain some of those topics.

          • Apology accepted : )

    • wmrharris

      At the very least, they should list the 14th Amendment, and a choice of measures that freed the slave. Second inaurgural would be my pick. but then again, this is another of those ALEC-template bills with its origins not in the Republican north, but in the Southern still rebelling social conservatives.

  • wmrharris

    A word about the NW Ordinance. it actually impacts Michigan in two ways. First our roads. The NW Ordinance specified the gridded system of sections and townships, and so the roads every mile or half mile apart, sure as clockwork. Second, the NW Ordinance specified public education in 1787, before the US Constitution. the proceeds from the sale of the 18th and 36th section were to go for the establishment of public education. So much for the “government school” b.s. we here. Schools were there from the beginning, thanks to the NW Ordinance. If you study anything, learn this (I remember learning it in 6th grade).

  • DustinMi

    Let me try rewriting the headline here:
    “Colbeck wants to teach kids freedom by forcing their teachers to teach them what he thinks it means”

  • nishnob

    Here’s an idea. How about teaching the correct history for Michigan’s Native American tribes, and teach it for more than two weeks in the third grade?

  • Freedom2Be

    Who died and left him as the Ever and Always Pre-Eminent Authority on History Education??

  • Hal

    Someone’s crafted the language of this bill to skirt court rulings concerning the posting of religious documents such as the 10 Commandments in schools. That’s what he wants – to post the Commandments and whatever other religious document he believes is an antecedent to our justice system / government. This is an end-run by the religious right. No more. No less.