Metro Nashville Public Schools has not promoted Constitution Day or Constitution Week at the district level.
District spokeswoman Michelle Machaud told The Tennessee Star that “we are not as a district” promoting Constitution Week but that “it may be possible social studies teachers are observing this.”
The Star contacted several Metro Nashville schools but messages were not returned.
Metro Nashville Public Schools does have an interest in promoting other topics for inclusion in the curriculum used by middle and high school social studies teachers.
In August, for instance, the president of the Islamic Center of Nashville spoke at an in-service for Metro Nashville middle and high school social studies teachers. He posted on Facebook about how he ended the presentation with the question, “Is Islam compatible with the West?” The district did not respond to pointed questions by The Star about the presentation.
Constitution Week celebrates the 230th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution by the delegates attending the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.
Constitution Day was Monday, September 18, and Constitution Week runs through Sunday, September 24. President Trump issued a proclamation last Friday to observe the occasion. (When Constitution Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it is celebrated on Monday of the same week.)
Started in the 1950s, Constitution Week was created to educate people about the U.S. Constitution. Legislation passed by Congress in 2004 required schools receiving federal funds to provide educational programs on the Constitution for Constitution Day. However, the legislation did not dictate what the programs should look like.
While some outside groups working in Nashville are enthused about Constitution Week, there is little in the way of a coordinated effort–if any–on the part of leaders and administrators at the Metro Nashville Public Schools.
The Star, for instance, has run a weekly series of articles on the Constitution.
In addition, The Polk Foundation’s Tennessee Star Constitution Bee for secondary school students, quite possibly the first in the nation, will be held at Sycamore High School in Pleasant View from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday, September 23. Interested secondary school students who want to participate can sign up here.
“There is a Great Debate happening in the United States, and it’s been going on since our founding. At its heart is the answer to this question, ‘What it the role of government?’,” Christina Botteri, managing editor of The Tennessee Star says.
“But in order to be able to truly participate in this Debate, people must have the opportunity to learn the foundational documents of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” she adds:
How can anyone be expected to discuss the role of government — or for that matter, whether the Constitution should be followed as originally written, as Justice Antonin Scalia did, or if ours is a “Living Constitution” that should be interpreted differently from reader to reader, as Justice Ruth Bater-Ginsberg says – if there is no baseline of understanding of the what the Consitution says, in the first place?
“That’s where we come in. Together with our sponsors, The Polk Foundation’s Tennessee Star Constitution Project is providing secondary school level students the baseline of knowledge they need to decide for themselves what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are all about,” Botteri says of Saturday’s Constitution Bee.