Mr.TinDC /

The Michigan Senate passed a pair of bills (SB 209 and SB 211) this week that promote teaching of civics principles from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Michigan Constitution for all public school students.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, is intended to fill holes in civics education that Colbeck says leave many Americans unable to demonstrate basic knowledge about how government works.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some University of Michigan graduate students spent a few hours today outlining plans for using new technologies to make local governments more open.

The students have been using the city of Jackson as a civic laboratory to come up with ways to improve connections between local governments and residents.