Continued Progress on Civics Policies Across States

States continued a steady march toward stronger K–12 civic education this spring. Several states implemented minimum course requirements for civics, while others allocated resources for teacher training or started new civic excellence programs. Our final tally for this legislative session includes 151 bills impacting K–12 civic education in 35 states. Nearly three-fourths (109) of the bills align with the CivXNow Policy Menu.

Six states already crossed the finish line with stronger civics policies:

  • Alabama’s $1.75 million injection into the state budget fuels a continued partnership between Troy University and the American Village Citizenship Trust. This program equips Alabama high school students with a solid grasp of U.S. history and government, and also offers teachers a “Civics Education Micro-credential.”
  • Indiana SB211 passed on the last day of session and was signed into law by Governor Holcomb (R) on March 13. The measure, sponsored by Senator Jeff Raatz (R), creates a new “Excellence in Civic Engagement” designation for graduating high school students.
  • Kentucky high schoolers now have a choice. Previously, they had to pass a 100-question civics test based on the U.S. Citizenship exam. Thanks to House Bill 535, sponsored by Representative Robert Duval (R), students can now choose between that test and taking a credit class in civic education. This law also makes the existing test a bit tougher by raising the passing score from 60% to 70%. The bill was signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear (D) on April 9.
  • Missouri’s General Assembly passed HB 2002, which included $500K for educator professional development in “civics and patriotism.” This was the second year of funding for this new line item and it was supported by the Missouri Civic Learning Coalition.
  • New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed HB 171 into law, updating high school graduation requirements to include an additional semester of social studies and civics.

As of this writing, two states are still considering substantial measures to boost K–12 civics:

  • Michigan, where CivXNow staff led appropriations requests for professional development for K–12 civic educators. Committee chairs in both chambers agreed: $1M in the House School Aid Budget and $5M in the Senate School Aid Budget. The conference committees are currently negotiating final numbers prior to the close of session this month.
  • California SB1094, which passed the Senate last week, requires one civic engagement experience with a governmental institution in both elementary and middle school. It moves next to the House, which adjourns in August. Californians for Civic Learning is leading the charge to pass this critical measure to prepare K–8 students for their high school civics experiences, including the State Seal of Civic Engagement.

Stay tuned for further updates on Michigan and California, and join our ongoing efforts to build civic learning coalitions in all 50 states to strengthen K–12 civic education.

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