On January 7, 2015, the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics cleared the first phase of the DC Character Development and Citizenship Education Initiative. Dr. Edwin W. Powell, an assistant professor and educational psychologist at Howard University College of Medicine, authored this measure in response to an increase in school disciplinary referrals, violence on public transportation and in public spaces. In order for this measure to reach District residents via ballot for a full vote next fall, more than 25,000 signatures must be secured by August 31, 2015. This initiative, if passed, would establish a Character Development and Citizenship Education Council in the District of Columbia (DC).
This newly created Council will be tasked with:
- Assessing the need to integrate Character Development and Citizenship Education into public and public charter schools in the District of Columbia.
- Making recommendations on how a non-religious Character Development and Citizenship Education curriculum can be implemented in the District of Columbia Public and Charter School systems. This curriculum will focus on critical issues facing the youths of the District of Columbia including but not limited to bullying, drug use, peer pressure, life focus, ethics, respect, health, self-esteem, and the importance of positive attitudes and influences.
- The Council shall complete its work and submit recommendations to the Mayor, the Council of the District of Columbia, Office of the State Superintendent for Education, the Chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools and the Executive Director of District of Columbia Public Charter Schools within twelve (12) months following its creation.
- The Council shall have a sunset provision that will take effect twelve (12) months following its creation.
The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU), DC Working Families, the Washington Metropolitan Council, the DC Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, several advisory neighborhood commissions, numerous other civic, religious and secular groups have endorsed this measure as a progressive solution to dealing with many of the problems involving our city’s youth. Visit www.charactermattersdc.com for more information and how you can help move this initiative forward!