Colbeck introduces Patriot Week and Good Citizenship bills

LANSING, Mich.— The Senate Education Committee took testimony Wednesday on a set of bills introduced by Sen. Patrick Colbeck that would establish Patriot Week in Michigan.

The legislation would require schools to ensure that K-12 social studies instruction features the core civic principles of the United States as captured in the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and Michigan’s Constitution. 

Colbeck, R-Canton, addressed the committee on the purpose of the bills with the following statement:

“I am pleased to introduce what I like to refer to as the Article VIII, Section 1 suite of bills.

“Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged (Michigan Constitution, Article VIII, Section 1).

“The first of these bills is SB 120, an anti-censorship bill that I also like to refer to as the ‘anti-ellipse’ bill.  It is a simple bill. This bill is intended to ensure that when historical documents that mention God, faith or religion are presented to students as part of instruction, these documents shall be unabridged- in others words without ellipses denoting content that has been screened. 

“The second of these bills is SB 121. This is a streamlined version of the Patriot Week resolution that the Michigan Legislature has a history of passing on an annual basis. This bill 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 U.S. Constitution. It goes further to ensure that we regularly honor the sacrifices of our veterans and those who currently serve in the Armed Forces to protect these principles.

“The last of these bills is SB 423, also referred to as the Good Citizenship bill. It seeks to address each of the points captured in Article VIII, Section 1 of our Michigan Constitution, which in turn is a reflection of the 3rd Article of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

“Building on the end objective of inculcating the components necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, the school code is revised to 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 at all public schools. In addition, schools are encouraged to post relevant documents that provide insight into the origins and evolution of our government including those with religious content.”