American heritage bills pass Senate committee

For Immediate Release
Nov. 14, 2013

Contact: Jennifer Murray
517-373-7350

LANSING, Mich.— A set of bills introduced by Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, to encourage schools to place a focus on the founding principles of our American heritage passed the Senate Education Committee Wednesday.

“These bills are designed to help our students understand the unique system of government we have in America and develop a greater appreciation for our nation and its heritage,” said Colbeck. “The legislation seeks to give teachers additional tools with which they can ensure that core principles of our government as captured in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Michigan Constitution are embedded within our requirements for instruction. This is important as the principles taught today will be the principles used to govern in the future.”

Senate Bill 423, also referred to as the “Good Citizenship” bill, includes language to require schools to ensure that social studies instruction from Kindergarten through 12th grade is centered upon the founding principles of the United States, including federalism, the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Michigan Constitution. The measure enhances and clarifies the vital role of our education system in the development of good citizens with a thorough understanding of how our system of government is intended to work. The bill also ensures that the key principles documented in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are tested on any Michigan assessment tests. 

SB 120 is an anti-censorship bill that is intended to ensure that when historical documents that mention God, faith or religion are presented to students as part of instruction, these documents shall be unabridged, without ellipses denoting content that has been deleted. 

SB 121 is a streamlined version of the Patriot Week resolution that the Michigan Legislature passes every year. This measure would capture the observance of Patriot Week in statute. The purpose of Patriot Week is to promote an understanding of American history and America’s first principles, particularly those principles captured in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The bill also would ensure that we regularly honor the sacrifices of our veterans and those who currently serve in the armed forces to protect these principles.

SBs 120, 121 and 423 will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.