SB 0237 - Education - Curriculum - Unit of Instruction on September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks

SB 0237 - Education - Curriculum - Unit of Instruction on September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks

Position: Information Only

Committee: Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee

The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this STATEMENT OF INFORMATION to Senate Bill 237. We offer this testimony on behalf of the families of approximately 50,000 students served by more than 150 PreK-12 Catholic schools in Maryland.  The Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

Senate Bill 237 would require each public school and nonpublic school that participates in state-funded education program to include in its curriculum a unit of instruction on the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 

The Conference appreciates the end goal of this legislation.  Remembering those heroes who lost their lives in sacrifice to others as first responders in the September 11, 2001, attacks is vital in a historical context.  Moreover, a way to continuously honor their sacrifices is to educate future generations about the circumstances of that fateful day and how those who gave their lives in service to others willingly did so. 

However, as Maryland’s nonpublic schools often already teach units about the events of September 11, 2001, as well as the sacrifices made by countless Americans on that day, we respectfully request that the state not dictate their particular curriculum as independent schools. 

Nonpublic schools are approved and/or licensed by the State Department of Education and meet all institutional requirements placed on them by law.  However, Maryland law regards nonpublic school curriculum as independent of that of our public schools for numerous reasons and this bill mandates particular curriculum on certain nonpublic schools.

To the extent that curriculum is more than encouraged, but is rather mandated, on nonpublic schools in the state, we respectfully disagree.