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Illinois Civic Education Laws

Middle School Civics Bill (2019)

This spring, legislation to require a semester of civics within grades 6, 7, or 8 (Public Act 101-0254), passed the Illinois General Assembly with bipartisan supermajorities in both chambers. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law in Summer 2019, with the middle school mandate set to be implemented beginning with the 2020-21 school year.

High School Civics Bill (2015)

On August 21, 2015, Governor Rauner signed House Bill (HB) 4025 (Public Act 99-0434) into law, requiring that future Illinois high school students complete a stand-alone, semester-long civics course. Course content must include instruction on government institutions, current and controversial issues discussions, service learning, and simulations of democratic processes.

A separate law (Public Act 099-0485) was passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by Governor Rauner provided further clarity on HB 4025’s effective date. The course mandate took effect on July 1, 2016, and applied to incoming freshmen for the 2016-17 school year.

For additional information on the law, please see the Illinois State Board of Education’s Guidance Document for State Graduation Requirements.