As we dive into September, there are lots of changes in the air. A new school year, a new season, pumpkin spiced drinks, and Constitution and Citizenship Day!
State law requires the study of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Washington state as a prerequisite for graduation from public and private high schools. Additionally, federal law enacted in December 2004 states: "Each educational institution that receives federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution..." to commemorate the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. If this day falls on a weekend (like it does this year), then the day can be observed the week before or after.
Another civic observance we have is Temperance and Good Citizenship Day which isn’t observed until January, but which can be important to think about in September because of November elections.
From a joint letter celebrating the 100th anniversary of Temperance and Good Citizenship Day in January 2023, Superintendent Chris Reykdal and Secretary of State Steve Hobbs wrote:
“The need to engage and educate young voters and the next generation of voters is paramount. In Washington, we have launched several initiatives to instill within young people the importance of lifelong civic participation. For example, the Future Voter program, enacted by the state Legislature in 2018, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to sign up as future voters and be automatically registered to vote when they become eligible. Temperance and Good Citizenship Day, part of Future Voter, gives high-school seniors the opportunity to register to vote during their social studies classes or enroll in the Future Voter program.”
Students are not required to register to vote. This is a voluntary program.
Here are some additional resources: