Last Thursday morning as I settled in with my morning cup of coffee, a petition for Initiative 1058 was tucked between the pages of the daily newspaper. The basic elements of this initiative include the required teaching of the Declaration of Independence and its relationship to federal and state constitutions, displaying such important documents in public schools and a standardized test prior to high school graduation.
Although the intent of this initiative is admirable, RCW 28A.230.095 addresses much of the elements. Through this Washington state law, school districts are directed to implement classroom-based assessment practices to address the social studies essential academic learning requirements. Civics-related assessments are to be implemented in grades 4 or 5, 7 or 8 and grades 11 or 12. School districts annually submit an implementation verification report to the office of the superintendent of public instruction. Currently, students throughout Washington are engaged in such assessments as well as the more commonly known HSPE and MSP.
Please know that the children of Washington are already involved in civics instruction/assessment and that one more test is really not necessary.
Ellen D. Hopkins
Curriculum specialist, social studies/writing
East Valley School District