- Published: Saturday, May 30, 2015 05:39 PM
SPRINGFIELD- Do you know what the three branches of U.S. government are? If so, you are one of 36 percent who can answer correctly according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed legislation that would require a semester of civics to graduate high school.
Currently, Illinois is one of only 10 states that doesn’t require at least one civics course. Right now, Illinois high school graduates are required to complete two years of social studies courses. This legislation would simply require one of the two years to include a civics course for one semester.
“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,” said Cullerton.
The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education recommended Illinois require a civic education course for all high schools in Illinois. The class would focus on government institutions, current issues and discussions and simulations of the democratic process.
“Today, we move one step closer in equipping our students with the necessary skills to be informed and engaged participants in our democracy,” said Shawn Healy, Task Force Chair and Civic Learning Scholar at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in Chicago. “On behalf of the taskforce, we are grateful for the bi-partisan support of this transformational legislation.”
Support for implementing the civics courses would be provided by private funding to cover the cost of professional development and other school district needs.
House Bill 4025 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.