January 30, 2013

Labor history on the legislative agenda

The state currently requires Connecticut schools to teach math, science, economics, physical education and even "the dangers of gang membership."
But if Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney has his way, the list may grow.
Looney, a New Haven Democrat, has proposed legislation to require the teaching of "labor history and law, including the history of organized labor, the collective bargaining process and existing legal protections in the workplace, as part of the public school curriculum."
The purpose of Looney's measure is to support "a well-rounded education."
Now labor history has its place, for sure. And it's probably too often ignored.
But the existing law doesn't require schools teach anything about the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement or anything else specific. It just calls for students to learn "government and history."
Requiring only labor history to be studied when so much else is left to teachers to decide is... up to the General Assembly.
The proposal is now before the Labor and the Education committees, where it will probably die.
Here's what the law currently calls for:

In the public schools the program of instruction offered shall include at least the following subject matter, as taught by legally qualified teachers, the arts; career education; consumer education; health and safety, including, but not limited to, human growth and development, nutrition, first aid, disease prevention, community and consumer health, physical, mental and emotional health, including youth suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, safety, which may include the dangers of gang membership, and accident prevention; language arts, including reading, writing, grammar, speaking and spelling; mathematics; physical education; science; social studies, including, but not limited to, citizenship, economics, geography, government and history; and in addition, on at least the secondary level, one or more world languages and vocational education. For purposes of this subsection, world languages shall include American Sign Language, provided such subject matter is taught by a qualified instructor under the supervision of a teacher who holds a certificate issued by the State Board of Education. For purposes of this subsection, the "arts" means any form of visual or performing arts, which may include, but not be limited to, dance, music, art and theatre.

I'm a little concerned about that English spelling of theater, but perhaps that can be fixed someday.

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