Illinois high school students will soon be required to take a comprehensive civics course thanks to a bill recently signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
HB4025 was co-sponsored by Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, and Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, and received strong bi-partisan support from members of the General Assembly.
Intended to educate students about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, the new law requires every public high school to include in its curriculum a civics course that will comprise at least one semester of each students’ required two years of social studies.
Course content will focus on government institutions, the discussion of current and controversial issues, service learning and simulations of the democratic process. All told, classes will strive to “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.”
Work is now set to begin on implementing the newly enacted legislation and providing teachers with the necessary support.
As for financing, HB4025 allowed for the creation of the Civics Education Assistance Fund as a special fund in the state treasury. Money from the fund will be used by the State Board of Education to provide funding for these civics courses as well as professional development for teachers.
More information on specifics of this and other bills currently under consideration is available at ilga.gov.