Kids must take civics, a new bill says

Legislation that would require 11th or 12th-grade high school students to take a for-credit course in citizenship and government before graduation was heard this week in the Senate’s E-12 Education Committee. The bill matches one that was included in the House Education Policy bill.

An advanced placement, international baccalaureate, or other rigorous courses on government or citizenship would also fulfill the new requirement. The new course would be part of the social studies standard requirements in state law. The bill also adds a personal finance course as a way to fulfill the social studies requirements.

The Senate bill does not remove the requirement that students pass 30 of 50 citizenship test requirements once during high school. The test is not required for graduation and the test can be taken as often as a student would like.

Civics education requirements have been discussed over the past few sessions with supporters pointing out that students need to have a basic understanding of democracy and the principles of American government.

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a larger education bill to be discussed later in the session. (SF 240)