Celebrate Freedom Week legislation is currently under consideration as part of a larger history education overall known as SB 426. The bill is currently left Pending in the Senate Education and Youth Committee, where it was referred on 2-15-2012. It has not been brought up for a vote. Actions on the bill and full text can be found here. The CFW specific part of the legislation is below.
We have not found any Constitution Day links for the Georgia Department of Education. If you are aware of any, please post them below.
- Contact Georgia legislators and encourage them to pass SB 426 and Celebrate Freedom Week. If they are unwilling to support the full SB 426, then send them a copy of model legislation found here and ask them to file a stand alone bill specifically for CFW. Use the sample contact letter found here, but modify it in any way you like to make it more personal.
- Contact your local school district and ask them what they have planned for Constitution Day.
- Ask if they would allow you to find local veterans who could come speak in classes or assemblies about why they were willing to die for freedom and the American Constitutional principles. Then contact the local VFW and American Legion about the opportunity.
- Send them links to Constitution Day resources from other states, such as Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky.
- Ask your local school district to ask the state department of education to create a web page for educators with resources for Constitution Day in your state.
- Add comments and photos to this page about what your local school district is doing for Constitution Day and how legislators are responding to your request for CFW
SB426 is a much more comprehensive reform than just CFW, but the relevant CFW language in the bill reads as follows:
(a) To educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the values, principles, and philosophies on which this country was founded, the full week in September which includes Constitution Day, September 17, shall be recognized in public elementary and middle schools in this state as Celebrate Freedom Week. Celebrate Freedom Week shall include at least three hours of appropriate instruction, as determined by each local school system, in each social studies class. The instruction shall include an age-appropriate, in-depth study of the intent, meaning, and importance of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, in their historical context including the background of the colonial era along with instruction about the Founding Fathers, such as the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, the first six Presidents, and particularly George Washington and key individuals who served with him in war and in his presidential cabinets. During Celebrate Freedom Week, a local school system shall require students in grades three through eight to read at least one book that focuses on the Founding Era, either the times and events or the people who made significant contributions to independence or toward establishing the new federal or state governments. In addition, a local school system shall require students in grades three through eight to recite at least one of the following three excerpts at least once during the week, and local school systems are encouraged to require daily recitations from one or all of these excerpts at the beginning of each school day:
(1) From the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed ….;
(2) From the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution:
We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.; and
(3) From the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
(b) Upon written request from a student’s parent or guardian, a local school system shall excuse the student from the recitation required by this Code section. This Code section shall not apply to a student who:
(1) Has a conscientious objection to the recitation; or
(2) Is the child of a representative of a foreign government to whom the United States government extends diplomatic immunity.
(c) This Code section shall apply beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.