Happy Constitution Day! (And don’t forget Celebrate Freedom Week if you’re in Kansas)

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Just a reminder that there is a federal regulation concerning Constitution Day (September 17) and state legislation here in Kansas highlighting Celebrate Freedom Week.  Please be advised.

If you teach K-8th grade, you’ll need to incorporate the Celebrate Freedom topics into your instruction this week or the week designated by your district for these observances. EVERYBODY has the opportunity to celebrate the Constitution today.

Want the details? The federal regs:

Federal Register/Vol. 70, No. 99/ Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Section 111(b) states ‘‘[e]ach educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.’’ For purposes of the Department’s implementation of this requirement, ‘‘educational institutions’’ includes but is not limited to ‘‘local educational agencies’’ and ‘‘institutions of higher education’’ receiving Federal funding from the Department.

Section 111 applies to all educational institutions receiving Federal funding, not only those receiving Federal funding from the Department. However, the Department’s authority only extends to those educational institutions receiving funding from the Department, and consequently the Department can only regulate with regard to those institutions.

Section 111 requires that Constitution Day be held on September 17 of each year, commemorating the September 17, 1787 signing of the Constitution. However, when September 17 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, Constitution Day shall be held during the preceding or following week.

Kansas state Celebrate Freedom Week legislation:

HB 2261 enrolled 2013
New Section 1.

(a) In order to educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the values on which this country was founded, the week of September containing the 17th day of such month in each year thereafter is hereby designated as ‘‘celebrate freedom week’’ in each public school offering any of the grades kindergarten through eight.

(b) The state board of education, in cooperation with such other state agencies or private entities who voluntarily participate, shall promote ‘‘celebrate freedom week’’ through a coordinated program.

(c) For purposes of this section, Sunday is deemed to be the first day of the week.

New Sec. 2. On or before December 31, 2013, the state board of education shall adopt rules and regulations requiring appropriate instruction be provided as part of the curriculum for grades kindergarten

through eight on history and government concerning the original intent, meaning and importance of the declaration of independence and the United States constitution, including the bill of rights of the United States constitution, in their historical contexts. The religious references in the writings of the founding fathers shall not be censored when presented as part of such instruction. Such rules and regulations shall provide that the study of the declaration of independence include the study of the relationship of the ideas expressed in that document to subsequent American history, including the relationship of such ideas to the rich diversity of our people as a nation of immigrants, the American revolution, the formulation of the United States constitution and the abolitionist movement, which led to the emancipation proclamation and the women’s suffrage movement. Such instruction shall be taught during ‘‘celebrate freedom week,’’ established under section 1, and amendments thereto, or during such other full school week as determined by the board of education of the school district.

(Image source: https://www.georgefox.edu/academics/undergrad/departments/polisci/resources/constitution-day.html)

About Kori Green

I teach 8th grade social studies at El Dorado Middle School in El Dorado, KS. I enjoy U.S. history, dabble in British history, and love incorporating technology in the classroom.

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