As reported by Education Week’s Stephen Sawchuk, CivXNow, encompassing some 90 organizations, has come up with a plan to help states do a better job of developing good citizens by…

  1. Revising social science standards and prioritize civics;
  2. Aligning tests to those standards;
  3. Improving teacher training;
  4. Giving young people a voice at school and in local government.

And while nothing new, some changes in in the political, social, and educational landscapes reflect some new civics education laws in three states in particular:

  1. Florida: Back in 2010, a law named after iCivics founder Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor “required a new middle school course and an aligned test to measure civics knowledge that makes up nearly one-third of each student’s grade in that subject.” Its focus includes:
  • “Origins and purposes of law and governments
  • Citizens’ rights and responsibilities;
  • The political process;
  • The organization and function of government.
  1. Illinois: In 2015, the state moved from having the weakest civics requirements in the country to now boasting one of the best thanks to it requiring a semester of high school civics. Successful implementation is, in large part, thanks to an agreement between legislators and , the Robert R. McCormick Foundation’s pledge of $1 million for three consecutive years.

    As a follow-up, in May, the legislature passed a new law requiring a semester-long civics course in he middle grades to complement the high school requirement.

  2. Massachusetts: In November, 2018, Massachusetts became the first state to require each of its middle and high schools to include at least one student-led civics project reflecting what’s known as “action civics,” whereby students investigate and use local “civics channels” to remedy community problems.

    Meanwhile, the 2018 revamped state standards emphasize K-12 civics education, particularly in 8th grade which focuses on “the democratic foundations of the United States and their connections to the present.”

May the rest of the nation soon follow suit. In the meantime, however, this just in:

  • Following the leads of California, Colorado, and New Jersey, Democratic Governor J.B. Ptitzker has signed a bill mandating that, as of July 2020, public school history classes “include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.”

And so it goes…

Many thanks, Carol (