Bill requiring high school civics course moves forward in Senate
State Sen. Tom Cullerton's (D-IL) proposed legislation that would require high school students to take and pass one semester of civics to graduate recently advanced through the Senate Committee on Education.
To date, Illinois is one of only 10 states that does not require students to take at least one civics course. Students in the Illinois school system are required instead to complete two years of social studies courses. Cullerton's legislation would require one of the two courses to be civics.
“Our schools are training future leaders of Illinois,” Cullerton said. “Good government is a result of public officials and residents working together to make informed decisions. We need to ensure our young people know how government works to make sure government is working for them.”
The required course would focus on government institutions, current issues and discussions, and simulations of the democratic process.
The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education recommended that Illinois should require a civic education course for all high schools in Illinois.
“Today, we move one step closer in equipping our students with the necessary skills to be informed and engaged participants in our democracy,” Shawn Healy, task force chair and civic learning scholar at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in Chicago, said. “On behalf of the taskforce, we are grateful for the bipartisan support of this transformational legislation.”
Cullerton's bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.