H. B. 2248
(By Delegate Harrison)
[Introduced January 15, 1999; referred to the
Committee on Educaiton then Finance.]
A BILL to amend chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article two-j, relating to
education; establishing the civic literacy act; legislative
findings; stating legislative purpose; administration of the
act; and requiring the state board of education to report
the effectiveness of the act.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated article two-j, to read
ARTICLE 2J. CIVIC LITERACY ACT.
§18-2J-1. Short title.
This article may be cited as the "Civic Literacy Act."
§18-2J-2. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds that:
(a) The adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776
and the signing of the United States Constitution were principal
events in the history of the United States, the Declaration of
Independence providing the philosophical foundation on which this
nation rests and the constitution of the United States providing
its structure of government;
(b) The Federalist Papers embody the most eloquent and
forceful argument made in support of the adoption of our
republican form of government;
(c) These documents stand as the foundation of our form of
democracy providing at the same time the basis of our national
identity and the vehicle for orderly growth and change;
(d) Many Americans lack even the most basic knowledge and
understanding of the history of our nation and the principles set
forth in the Declaration of Independence, codified in the
constitution and defended in the Federalist Papers; and
(e) The survival of the republic requires that our nation's
children, the future guardians of its heritage and participants
in its governance, have a firm knowledge and understanding of its
principles and history.
The purpose and intent of this article are:
(a) To require during the high school years the teaching of the nation's founding and related documents, which includes the
Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and
the Federalist Papers; and
(b) To require that before receiving a certificate or
diploma of graduation from high school, students are tested on
their knowledge of the Declaration of Independence, the United
States Constitution and the Federalist Papers.
§18-2J-4. Administration by state board of education; rules.
The state board of education shall propose rules for
promulgation, pursuant to chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, for
the administration of this article. The proposed rules shall:
(a) Mandate a passing grade on a test of the Declaration of
Independence, the United States Constitution and the Federalist
Papers be included among the requirements for secondary school
(b) Mandate that any standardized state testing of high
school students include comprehensive questions on the contents
of the Declaration of Independence, the United States
Constitution and the Federalist Papers; and
(c) Specifically provide for curriculum content and teacher
training to ensure that the intent of this legislation is
§18-2J-5. Reporting and accountability.
The state board of education shall submit an annual report
to the governor and the Legislature on the effectiveness of the rules adopted pursuant to this act as measured by the passage of
these courses involved pursuant to the provisions of section
three of this article.
NOTE: This bill establishes the Civic Literacy Act which
requires the teaching of the nation's founding and related
documents during the high school years. This curriculum is to
include the Declaration of Independence, the United States
Constitution and the Federalist Papers.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.