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HB 5: "An Act requiring a standardized statewide history of American constitutionalism curriculum and a secondary school history of American constitutionalism examination in public schools in the state; and providing for an effective date."

00                              HOUSE BILL NO. 5                                                                           
01 "An Act requiring a standardized statewide history of American constitutionalism                                        
02 curriculum and a secondary school history of American constitutionalism examination                                     
03 in public schools in the state; and providing for an effective date."                                                   
04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
05    * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section                          
06 to read:                                                                                                                
07       SHORT TITLE. This Act may be known as the American Constitutionalism History                                      
08 Literacy Act.                                                                                                           
09    * Sec. 2. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
10 read:                                                                                                                   
11       LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. The legislature finds that                                                                  
12            (1)  the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of                                        
13 Confederation, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights were seminal                               
14 events in the history of the United States of America;                                                                  
01            (2)  American constitutionalism represents this country's greatest gift to human                             
02 freedom; its ideals, ideas, and institutions have influenced different people in different lands                        
03 at different times;                                                                                                     
04            (3)  an early understanding of American constitutionalism empowers students                                  
05 to make rational, evidence-based decisions regarding their civic judgments, rights, and duties;                         
06            (4)  a number of historical written documents that appeared over a span of 15                                
07 years continue to serve to define our national identity and our constitutional republic form of                         
08 government: the Declaration of Independence, the first state constitutions, the Articles of                             
09 Confederation, the Constitution of the United States, the Federalist Papers, and the Bill of                            
10 Rights; a general understanding of the philosophies and historical context that generated those                         
11 documents is an essential element in the education of Alaska students;                                                  
12            (5)  the Citizens' Advisory Task Force on Civics Education Policy, in its report                             
13 dated January 2008, made a strong case for improving civics education; this Act should be                               
14 applied in the context of school district response to the recommendations in the report.                                
15    * Sec. 3. AS 14.03 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                     
16            Sec. 14.03.072. Statewide history of American constitutionalism                                            
17       curriculum and examination; annual report. (a) The board shall establish by                                     
18       regulation statewide curriculum and examination standards at all grade levels to ensure                       
19       and test students' understanding of the history of American constitutionalism as                                  
20       portrayed in the Declaration of Independence, the first state constitutions, the Articles                         
21       of Confederation, the Constitution of the United States, the Federalist Papers, the Bill                          
22       of Rights, and other historical documents produced in the founding of our                                         
23       constitutional republic model of government.                                                                      
24            (b)  The department shall prepare and submit an annual report to the governor                                
25       and to the legislature that describes the regulations adopted under this section and                              
26       measures the success of the curriculum and examination.                                                           
27    * Sec. 4. AS 14.03.075(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
28            (a)  A student may not be issued a secondary school diploma unless the student                               
29       passes a competency examination in the areas of reading, English, history of                                  
30       American constitutionalism, and mathematics or receives a waiver from the                                     
31       governing body. A governing body may not grant a waiver to a student before the                                   
01       student's final semester of attendance. The department shall determine the form and                               
02       contents of the examination and shall score completed examinations.                                               
03    * Sec. 5. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
04 read:                                                                                                                   
05       TRANSITION: REGULATIONS. The Department of Education and Early                                                    
06 Development may proceed to adopt regulations authorized by sec. 3 of this Act. The                                      
07 regulations may not take effect before the effective date of sec. 3 of this Act.                                        
08    * Sec. 6. Section 5 of this Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c).                                    
09    * Sec. 7. Except as provided in sec. 6 of this Act, this Act takes effect July 1, 2012.