Introduced by Representative Kilmartin of Newport City
Subject: Education; course of study; Vermont constitution
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to require that the Vermont constitution be distributed and taught in grades 5, 8, and 11; that each student be tested in those grades on knowledge of the constitution; and that the results of the test be reported annually to the general assembly.
AN ACT RELATING TO DISTRIBUTION AND TEACHING OF THE VERMONT CONSTITUTION
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
(a) It is the policy of the state of Vermont to assist parents and communities in educating its youth and in developing in them a sound appreciation and understanding of:
(1) constitutional government;
(2) the three branches of government and their constitutional functions; and
(3) the obligations, duties, and rights of citizenship under the Constitution of the State of Vermont.
(b) It is further the policy of the state to assure:
(1) the development of a well-informed and constitutionally-grounded citizenry in which the individual citizen can read and apply the Vermont constitution and make informed choices based thereon without relying on interpretations and explanations of any branch of government;
(2) that the citizens of Vermont know and require that all three branches of government are subordinate to and governed by the people through the people’s constitution of government; and
(3) that the citizens require the judiciary, executive, and legislative branches to be their trustees and servants, and at all times, in legal and constitutional ways, be accountable to them.
Sec. 2. 16 V.S.A. § 912 is added to read:
§ 912. VERMONT CONSTITUTION
(a) Annually, in each of grades 5, 8, and 11, Vermont public schools, approved and recognized independent schools and home study programs shall teach the contents of the Constitution of the State of Vermont, without interpretation, and shall administer a standardized test provided by the commissioner for the purpose of testing each student’s knowledge of the Vermont constitution.
(b) Annually, the commissioner shall distribute a legible, unannotated copy of the Vermont constitution to each pupil enrolled in a Vermont public, approved or recognized independent school or home study program in grades 5, 8, and 11. The commissioner shall develop the standardized tests required by this section, and shall provide at least one copy for each pupil enrolled.
(c) Each Vermont public school, approved and recognized independent school and home study program subject to this section shall report the scores its pupils receive on the standardized tests to the commissioner. By January 15 of each year, the commissioner shall submit the following to the general assembly:
(1) a copy of the test administered in the previous year;
(2) a copy of the scoring sheets; and
(3) the results aggregated by school, except that all home schools shall be considered a school for purposes of reporting the results.
Sec. 3. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall take effect on passage. The commissioner shall begin to distribute the Vermont constitution, and schools shall teach and administer tests pursuant to this act in school year 2005-2006. The commissioner shall make the first report to the general assembly required by this act by January 15, 2007.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street