So far, in the 2021 state legislative session, over eighty bills related to civic education have been introduced in 23 states. This is a significant increase in the number of civics bills introduced in the past several years and shows the momentum for strengthening and improving civic learning that is sweeping the nation.
The measures introduced so far this year range from course requirements, assessments, provision for professional development to civics related recognition programs. Many have been, or will be, introduced due to the work of CivXNow State Policy Task Force member state coalitions.
A sampling of this year’s active legislation includes:
- Arizona: SB 1704 establishes a grant program for civic educator professional development.
- Connecticut: HB 6140 ensures that students have a basic understanding of civics before they graduate high school.
- Florida: SB 146 establishes an option for school districts to include a nonpartisan civic literacy project through their U.S. Government curriculum. The project would require students to identify an issue or problem in their community, research the problem, and then develop strategies to address it. The bill also establishes a Florida Freedom Schools recognition program.
- Indiana: HB 1384 establishes standards for instruction and creates a permanent state civic education commission.
- Minnesota: SF240 & SF 563 require a civics course for high school graduation and establishes civics testing requirements.
- Missouri: HB 284 requires school districts to offer an American civics course for grade 6 through grade 12.
- New Jersey: A3394 & S 854 require civics instruction in middle school; authorizes New Jersey Center for Civic Education to provide curricula, professional development, and technical assistance for middle and high school civics; and provides annual center funding.
- Oregon: SB 86 requires that students in every grade from kindergarten through grade 12 receive at least half a semester, or equivalent of half a semester, of instruction in civics.
We expect several more pieces of state legislation will be introduced during the 2021 state legislative session and are tracking all civic learning-related bills.