Newberry legislation would require civic literacy in schools

Rep. Brian Newberry

PROVIDENCE – Rep. Brian Newberry, a Republican representing District 48 in North Smithfield and Burrillville, has submitted a bill which if passed, would require the commissioner of elementary and secondary education to adopt a course of study promoting civic literacy.

The ‘The Civics Literacy Act,’ proposed by Newberry was introduced over general concern that civic literacy is declining nationwide.  The curriculum would focus on the nation’s founding and related documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Federalist Papers.

“The adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the signing of the United States Constitution were significant events in the history of the United States and should be mandatory learning for students, so they may better understand the principles upon which our great nation was founded,” said Newberry. “The Federalist Papers embody the most eloquent and forceful argument made in support of the adoption of our Republic form of government. These documents stand as the inspiration for our national identity and the vehicle for orderly growth and change.”

Under Newberry’s legislation, the teaching of the nation’s founding and related documents, would be required statewide, during a student’s high school years.

“I am also asking, under this legislation, that the commissioner of elementary and secondary education submit an annual report to the Governor and to the legislature, describing the specific metrics used to measure the effectiveness of these courses,” Newberry said.

Co-sponsors of the act include Reps. Gregg Amore, Lauren Carson, John Edwards, and Rebecca Kislak, all Democrats.

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