H.C.R. NO.



H.D. 1















     WHEREAS, Act 51, Session Laws of Hawaii 2004, declares that "ultimately education must do no less than advance the endowment of human culture itself, so that each succeeding generation finds itself further along the road towards peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability in a society guided by creativity, compassion, and curiosity"; and


     WHEREAS, current efforts in educational reform from kindergarten through grade 12, both in Hawaii and nationally, focus predominantly on students' academic performance and college and workplace readiness and overlook the concept that actively preparing students to be engaged, productive citizens is one of the foundational purposes of public education in the United States; and


     WHEREAS, such an exclusive focus on achievement in English language arts, mathematics, and science by students neglects a key purpose of public education, which is to create an informed, participating citizenry; and


     WHEREAS, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Horace Mann, and the framers of our nation all espoused free, universal public education as a key element necessary to maintain the integrity of a representative democracy; and


     WHEREAS, our democratic republic will be sustained when young people are aware of their changing cultural and physical environments; know the past; read, write and think deeply; and act in ways that promote the common good; and

     WHEREAS, there may always be differing perspectives on these objectives, but the goal of producing knowledgeable, reflective, and active citizens is universal; and


     WHEREAS, research has demonstrated that there is a call for students to become more prepared for the challenges of college, career, and civic life (Bellanca and Brandt, 2010; DiGiacomo, Linn, Monthey, Pack, and Wyatt, 2013; Partnership for 21st Century Schools, 2011); and


     WHEREAS, public schools remain the best avenue to ensure that citizens are prepared to possess the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and opportunities to practice productive participation in the processes and experiences of civic life, including political engagement, community service, and altruistic behaviors; and


     WHEREAS, these skills and actions of civic engagement in a representative democracy cannot be taught only by giving information and completing written tests but must also be developed through direct instruction and involvement in simulations of democratic processes and the problem-solving process of addressing community issues by all age groups; and


     WHEREAS, a strong academic program of social sciences, including civics, together with the integration of democratic processes and simulations at all levels within the public-school system can enhance free society as a whole in Hawaii and nationally as well as within individual students in a reciprocal way; and


     WHEREAS, more than ever, youth need the intellectual power to recognize societal problems; ask pertinent questions and develop robust investigations into them; consider possible solutions and consequences; and act upon what they learn with the capability and commitment to repeat that process as long as necessary to navigate successfully through the worlds of college, career, and civic life; and


     WHEREAS, the Strategic Plan (2011-2018) of the Department of Education specifically states in the section on Core Values that "Hawaii students value connections (with the environment, a larger community and a global society) and become stewards to help make our world a better place"; and

     WHEREAS, Objective 1C of the same Strategic Plan states that "students are connected to their school and community to develop love of learning and contribute to a vibrant civic life"; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2014, the Senate concurring, that the Department of Education is strongly urged to strengthen and reinforce the civic readiness, education, and engagement of students from kindergarten through grade 12 in all public schools; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Education is also urged to enhance social-studies courses and integrate content, processes, strategies, and proven practices in civic education within each public school to expand the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of public-school students in kindergarten through grade 12 to be informed, active citizens participating in an integrated world; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Education, Superintendent of Education, President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Executive Director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, State Executive Director of the Hawaii Elementary and Middle School Administrators' Association, Chair of the Education Commission of the States and National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Civic Education, and Executive Director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools.

Report Title: 

Public Education; Civics