Saturday, October 28, 2006

Student Press Freedom Bill

Download the Student Press Bill to learn more

Dave Upthegrove is serving his 3rd term in the Washington State House of Representatives, where he represents the 33rd legislative district—which includes Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and parts of Kent and Burien. In the legislature, he serves as Vice-Chairman of the Natural Resources, Ecology & Parks Committee. He also serves on the Capital Budget Committee and on the Transportation Committee.

Prior to serving in the legislature, Representative Upthegrove worked on the staff of the legislature for seven years. He also served as Chairman of the 33rd District Democratic Party. He is one of the youngest members of the legislature and has worked closely with student governments to make sure that young voices are represented in the process.

A recent Knight Foundation Study showed that students who do not receive civics or journalism education in school are far less likely to understand or appreciate their first amendment rights. In the 2006 session, Representative Upthegrove was the prime sponsor of House Bill 2579, which requires classroom based assessments in civics. Unlike the WASL, these will be interactive project-based assessments scored by teachers in the classroom. Civics is already part of the required curriculum in Washington’s public schools. However, prior to passage of this bill, there has been no mechanism to ensure that students are actually learning the subject.

Outside of the legislature, Upthegrove serves as a member of the Council for Public Legal Education-- a group of community leaders who work to educate the public about their rights and responsibilities as citizens—and also is a regular volunteer with the "We the People" civic education program in the schools. He recently traveled to Warsaw, Poland to participate in an international civics education conference. One of the topics highlighted by that trip was the importance of a free press in maintaining democracy.

Rep. Upthegrove feels strongly that the first amendment rights of student press should be protected. He intends to introduce legislation in the 2007 session to prohibit censorship of student newspapers at public colleges and high schools.