Home > Uncategorized > Rhode Island Coalition of Aggrieved School Districts Considering Appeal of Civics Education Case… and I Have a Solution to the Problem

Rhode Island Coalition of Aggrieved School Districts Considering Appeal of Civics Education Case… and I Have a Solution to the Problem

The Columbia Teachers College e-Newsletter featured an interview with  one of their professors, Michael Rebell, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Cook v. Raimondo, a federal lawsuit against the State of Rhode for failing to provide children in that state with the education they need to become informed voters. In the interview, this question was posed:

What if you win on appeal, and there is a financial remedy from the legislature? That is, if the state were to put money into civic education?

It would depend not only on how much money, but also on how well they might reform civic education and make it a true priority.  But the Rhode Island legislature hasn’t come through in the past. It’s a question of whether it’s a sufficient priority for these schools to provide what’s needed. States have regulations on the books, but if they don’t follow up and hold schools and districts accountable, it doesn’t mean anything. For example, Rhode needs to require a mandatory civics course, which New York has. Rhode Island has no such requirement.

Without that kind of requirement, kids are under the gun to meet standardized test requirements, so they neglect social studies and other courses and topics that would help prepare them for civic participation.

A later question delved into the issue of how much detail the court would provide in rendering it’s decision, and Mr. Rebell indicated that he did NOT expect the courts to issue a prescriptive response. Rather than “asking the courts to be super legislatures or super school boards” Rebell was “looking for the Court to make it a priority that a state has to focus on“. He expected that “…at the end of the day, local school boards and state legislatures and maybe the federal Congress will have to do the implementation.”

Given the current President’s desire to “reform” social studies education and the current means of “reform” (i.e. the administration of a standardized test in a multiple choice format), I shudder to think what students will be asked to know.

I do, however, have an easy response to this whole issue: as part of a graduation requirement mandate that all students are capable of passing the US Citizenship Test and mandate that every graduate from high school has voted in at least three of the student government elections during their time in high school.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: