New civics graduation requirement in Illinois

Illinois Gov Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 4025 into law on Aug 25, which requires Illinois students to complete at least one semester of civics as part of the social studies graduation requirement.


Effective civic education is interdisciplinary, writes the Illinois Principals Association.

Two years of social studies, of which at least one year must be history of the United States or a combination of history of the United States and American government and at least one semester must be civics, which shall help young people acquire and learn to use the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives. Civics course content shall focus on government institutions, the discussion of current and controversial issues, service learning, and simulations of the democratic process. School districts may utilize private funding available for the purposes of offering civics education.

Voxitatis reported in March that two other states, Arizona and North Dakota, had adopted the passing of a citizenship test earlier this year as a requirement for high school graduation and that other states were considering similar legislation.

We also reported last month that no significant change had been observed on the eighth-grade social studies tests given for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, last year. However, several student groups made gains.

Illinois’s new law aims at helping students learn to use the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives.

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more biographical information, see the About page.