New Law Sponsored By Brooks Recognizes Importance Of Civics

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Legislation implementing a new emphasis on civics education in Tennessee was among bills signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam this week as the state prepares to observe the Memorial Day weekend.

House Bill 2114, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brooks (R—Cleveland), aims to give students the skills they need to be better informed about the workings of their own government. The law requires civics education to be included in the public school curriculum assessed by Local Educational Agencies. 

The legislation drew praise from retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor who wrote the sponsors of the law last week saying, “This important legislation will help make sure that every Tennessee student receives the civil learning that is so vital to their becoming an informed and engaged citizen.” The most recent study of the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that students perform worse in civics and U.S. history than in any other subjects. To counteract this trend, O’Connor has become a staunch advocate of civics education.  

Rep. Brooks stated, “With Memorial Day upon us, it is a special time of remembrance for Americans. It’s a day that sets our nation apart from her peers. It is a time when all of us reflect on the sacrifice made by our service men and women whose selfless courage ensures America is the standard of freedom for the world.”

He added, “With this law, I feel confident more Tennessee students will really understand the unique standing our Creator has given America, the special heritage of our nation, and what it has taken to make our country so great.”  

“I share Justice O’Connor’s deep concern regarding the need for a strong foundation in civics education so students will be fully engaged both as citizens and future leaders,” said Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R—Collierville), who sponsored the Senate version of the law. “The Memorial Day holiday is a stark reminder of those who fought and died for our freedom and right to self-govern. It is important that students know the underpinnings of our U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions and our democratic framework.  It is even more important that they understand how they work together to make life better for those who live under the flag of freedom in this great nation.”   

The legislation passed this year is timely as a result of the state’s recent waiver of the No Child Left Behind law. Both Reps. Brooks and Norris are concerned that if Tennessee does not test civic knowledge and skills, they could become afterthoughts in education, especially in schools where students are at risk of failing the subjects that are tested. The legislative duo say the project-based assessment put into place under the new law, moves away from testing memorization of facts and puts the focus on the academic skills needed for engaging in social issues and governance.    

According to the most recent reports, there are deficiencies in Tennessee’s curriculum, particularly as it effects active, project-based instruction which is the most effective method of learning civics education. This new law calls for engaging students in choosing issues of concern to them, followed by investigative research and development of plans for improving their communities.

Tennessee Board Of Regents Appoints 4 Executives To Help Lead Unified Community And Technical College System

A Tennessee Board of Regents committee on Thursday approved four administrative appointments recommended by Chancellor Flora Tydings as part of a strategic reorganization of the TBR system office to reflect its streamlined mission as a unified community and technical college system under the state’s FOCUS Act. The chancellor outlined the reorganization in a special ... (click for more)

Tennessee Highway Safety Office, Partners Advocate For Teen Safety During Prom, Graduation

Prom and graduation celebrations should be enjoyable, safe experiences for everyone. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) is partnering with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and AAA – The Auto Club Group to promote teen driver safety during prom and graduation season. According ... (click for more)

County School Teachers To Get 3% Raise Under Balanced County School Budget

Hamilton County Schools teachers are slated to get three percent pay increases under the balanced budget approved by the School Board on Thursday afternoon. That comes on top of a two percent hike last year. Lee McDade, assistant superintendent, said a large influx of cash came from the state, and Governor Bill Haslam outlined that it was to raise the pay level for teachers. ... (click for more)

Law Enforcement Shuts Down Convenience Store Near College Hill Courts As Public Nuisance

Law enforcement on Thursday took steps to shut down a convenience store near the College Hill Courts as a public nuisance. The action was taken after District Attorney Neal Pinkston filed a petition with Criminal Court Judge Tom Greenholtz about the Westside Shop. The store is operated by Salma Ambo, and the real property is owned by AAA Investment Properties LLC. The petition ... (click for more)

White Coat Syndrome And The Medical System - And Response (2)

Today I wish to share what I am feeling as a patient in our medical system. I am too old to put on airs at this point, and this is too pervasive of a problem for me to contain.   As I enter my AARP years, I am faced with so many medical encounters that evoke all kinds of uncomfortable feelings. I dread physician’s appointments riddled with government regulatory hypocrisy, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: County Commissioners Not Getting Bang For Their School Bucks

The Hamilton County School Board passed a balanced budget to present to the County Commission at a Special Called Meeting on Thursday night. They also attached a prioritized list of $24.5 million in critical needs for the County Commission to consider that will never see the light of day. The long and short of it is easy to see -- the County Commissioners have had enough. It ... (click for more)