The civic mission of schools is not a new concept. Our nation’s public schools were founded to develop citizens with knowledge of our system of governance, and the rights and responsibilities of self-government. Yet formal civic education has almost vanished from the curriculum in most schools.
We must provide our youngest generation with the understanding of our constitutional system, and an appreciation for the achievements of, and opportunities provided by self-government. Failure to do so will imperil the future of our democracy.
Informed action through service learning allows students to apply academic learning to real-world problems that are important to them. Service learning differs from community service or volunteerism in that the action is informed by the curriculum.
IL House Bill 234 amended the school code by adding a provision that, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, every public high school is required to include in its curriculum a unit of instruction on media literacy. “Media literacy” means the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and communicate using a variety of forms, including, but not limited to: print, visual, audio, interactive, and digital texts.
Direct Instruction on Democratic Institutions
Formal instruction in civics and government, history, economics, geography, and law increases young people’s tendency to engage in civic and political activities over the long term.