Should Iowa Schools Require Daily Singing of the National Anthem?
At last count, 47 of the 50 states in America had laws on the books requiring that students and teachers recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day that classes are in session at public schools in those states.
A 48th state - Nebraska - doesn't have a pledge statute, but in 2012 the state’s school board required it be recited in public schools.
Now, a new bill in neighboring Iowa is attempting to add one more item to the mandatory list of things to be recited.
House Study Bill 587 has passed its first vote (2-1) in the Iowa Legislature's Education Subcommittee, after being introduced January 18. The bill, sponsored by the Education Committee's chair, Representative Skyler Wheeler (District 4 - Lyon County/Sioux County), seeks to modify:
'...the social studies curriculum provided in grades one through twelve in school districts, charter schools, and innovation zone schools and modifying the responsibilities of school districts, charter schools and innovation zone schools related to requiring teachers and students to sing the national anthem.'
The bill actually calls for more than just the singing of the anthem. It seeks to modify the social studies curriculum in Iowa schools to include:
'instruction related to the words, music, meaning, and history of the anthem, as well as the object and principles of the government of the United States, the sacrifices made by the founders of the United States, the important contributions made by all who have served in the armed forces of the United States since the founding and how to love, honor and respect the national anthem.'
The bill does have a provision for students or teachers who choose not to sing the anthem, requiring them to stand at attention and maintain a 'respectful silence.'
If a teacher opts out of leading the singing, school principals would be required to find another teacher to step in.
The bill is now headed to the Iowa House for consideration. If passed by the House and Senate, the new regulation would go into effect for the 2023-24 school year.
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