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SB 0426 - "The Teach Freedom Act"; enact; modify requirements for instruction in U.S. history, American government and civics, economics, and social studies

Tracking Level: Watch
Sponsor: Ligon, Jr.,William 3rd
Last Action: 2/15/2012 - Senate Read and Referred
Senate Committee: ED&Y

Staff Analysis of the Legislation

This bill would amend Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the O.C.G.A. to modify requirements for instruction in US history, American government and civics, economics and social studies. It would also establish Celebrate Freedom Week in elementary and middle grades. The DOE would be required to develop a website for resources and instructional support, and the PSC and the DOE would have to develop cooperatively an online course on America’s founding philosophy and principles to be offered for professional learning.

            The bill would require the SBOE and LBOE’s to periodically review curricula, books, electronic resources and activities to ensure effective instruction is taking place, including traditional, blended and online settings that has an emphasis on the philosophical foundations of American government and the principles underlying the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights and key concepts from the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist papers. Other requirements for the courses mentioned above include key documents, key individuals who authorized or contributed to the documents, key movements in the colonization period and the Founding Era through the first 6 Presidents, including foreign key influences.

            LBOE’s would be required to solicit public input as part of the review process. U S history would have to be taught chronologically to include a very long list of specific topics that would have to be included in instruction.

             Celebrate Freedom Week would have to include Constitution Day, September 17, and would have to include at least 3 hours of appropriate instruction in each social studies class to include many of the topics on the very long list required of US history courses. Students in grades 3-8 would be required to read at least one book that focuses on the Founding Era, and they would be required to recite at least one of the following 3 concepts at least once during the week. School systems would be encouraged to require daily recitations from one or all of these excerpts at the beginning of each school day:

  • ·         A specific selection cited from The Declaration of Independence;
  • ·         A specific selection cited from the Preamble of the US Constitution; and
  • ·         A specific selection cited from the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Parents with specific objections to the recitations based on specific requirements spelled out in the bill could submit a written request for excusing their child(ren).

      The bill lists 12 documents that it would encourage local boards to post in every school and requires reports to the General Assembly regarding progress in developing the above requirements.

 


Bill Summary from the State Site - Click for the State Summary Page / Click for Current Full Text

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