Kaitlin Popielarz, a Ph.D. student and social studies instructor in the College of Education testifed against proposed revisions to the social studies standards

Return to news listing

Detroit Free Press, 6/20

Waterford crowd slams changes to Michigan school social studies standards

By Lori Higgins

Proposed revisions to social studies standards in Michigan may have eliminated many references to democracy in the U.S., but those attending a public comment session Wednesday got a lesson in how their voices matter. Officials from the Michigan Department of Education listened to a number of questions from a large audience in Waterford, many of them concerned about the removal of references to Roe v. Wade, gay rights and climate change and trimming references to the role of the NAACP and references to democracy. But comments from those state education officials indicated that many of the things that have raised controversy will make their way back in the standards. The officials also heard from Kaitlin Popielarz, a Ph.D. student and social studies instructor in the college of education at Wayne State University. She said the student teachers she works with "are a diverse, beautiful, compassionate, intelligent group of young people." But when they looked through the proposed revisions to the standards, "the heartbreak in the room was palpable," she said. "They do not see themselves or the communities of the students they teach in Detroit in these standards. I'm begging you to go back to the drawing board," Popielarz said.