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Bill: Make Utah schools report how they teach civic values

Published February 28, 2011 7:25 pm
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Schools might soon have to report how they're conducting civic and character education if a bill that passed the House Monday becomes law.

The House passed HB269 by a vote of 53-19 on Monday. The bill would require school districts and the state Charter School Board to submit an annual report to the lieutenant governor and Commission of Civic and Character Education on how those topics are integrated into curriculum. The bill says civic and character education in public schools consists of "core principles which reflect the shared values of the citizens of Utah and the founding principles upon which representative democracy in the United States and the state of Utah are based."

Bill sponsor Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, stressed that the bill wouldn't require schools to teach any additional material, just to share what they're already doing to help the commission, a statutorily created body that aims to provide leadership when it comes to civic and character education in schools.

"It's so important that [teachers] know here in Utah they don't need to be timid in this area," Christensen said. "They can nurture and help, as the code says, be a support to parents in the upbringing of our children so that the end result is an informed and patriotic citizenry."

Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, said he opposed the bill because he didn't see why schools should have to report how they're teaching character and civics when they don't have to report how they teach other parts of curriculum. Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, said she supported the bill, but reminded lawmakers that civics and character are already being taught in schools.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

The House on Monday also passed HB327, another bill sponsored by Christensen, which would require the state school board to annually report to the legislative Education Interim Committee "methods used, and the results being achieved, to instruct and prepare students to become informed and responsible citizens through an integrated curriculum taught in connection with regular school work."




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