Statement from Local Youth Service Providers about the Harmful Impact of Senate Bill 460

Megh Hollowell General Blog

We are disappointed to see elected officials put forth Senate Bill NO. 460 that threatens to withhold vital funding for public and private schools if educators teach their students about some of the most painful aspects of our country’s history, such as slavery, racism and oppression.

As organizations that work with young people every day, many of whom are young people of color, we know how important it is for students to learn about the historic events and actions that have shaped the world they live in today.  The young people we serve are often interacting with systems (housing, healthcare, education, criminal justice, etc.) that have been shaped by racist policies and practices. These inherently racist systems have led to many of the inequalities they experience in their daily lives.

According to the National Council for the Social Studies these bills seek to “silence social studies curriculum that explicitly addresses the centrality of slavery in the historical narrative of the United States.”  They go on to say that, “aversion to slavery in the social studies curriculum only serves to miseducate students who will carry the mantle of being citizens in our democratic society. Recognizing the origins, evolution, and legacy of slavery is vital to understanding how racial inequality and oppression currently operate in our society. Without this knowledge, it will be impossible for students to make informed and reasoned decisions and engage in deliberations that advance the common good.”

We are calling on our elected officials to provide more resources for K-12 education, not fewer, and to allow teachers to share with their students the full scope of U.S. history and the American experience.

Local Youth Service Providers Calling for the Withdrawal of SB 460:

  • Peri Stone-Palmquist, Executive Director, Student Advocacy Center 
  • Krista Girty, Executive Director, Ozone House
  • Derrick Miller, Executive Director, Community Action Network
  • Rhonda Weathers, Executive Director, SOS Community Services
  • Amanda Carlisle, Executive Director, Washtenaw Housing Alliance
  • Aubrey Patiño, Executive Director, Avalon Housing
  • Deb Gordon-Gurfinkel, Executive Director, Telling It
  • Bridget (Healy) Herrmann, Vice President of Impact & Advocacy, United Way of Washtenaw County
  • Jennifer Spitler, Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County
  • Cynthia VanRenterghem, Executive Director, Growing Hope
  • Lori Roddy, Executive Director, Neutral Zone
  • Kathy Homan, President/CEO, Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy
  • Sue Schooner, Executive Director, Girls Group
  • Ashley Walds, 4-H Program Coordinator, MSU Extension 4-H
  • Gail Wolkoff, Executive Director, Educate Youth