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Illinois Civic Education Laws and Standards

Revisions to the Illinois Social Science Standards for the 2022-23 School Year

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, a bipartisan legislative oversight committee created by the Illinois General Assembly, approved revisions to the K-12 Illinois Social Science standards. The changes were created by a committee of educators representing the diversity of the Land of Lincoln under the leadership of Elizabeth Hiler, Principal Consultant of Social Science, and Erica Thieman, Director of K-12 Curriculum and Instruction at the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

The current social science standards continue to shape the school curriculum for the 2021-22 school year. The revised standards impact the 2022-23 school year. The Illinois Civics Hub has created a google document for each grade band, placing the current standards, proposed revisions, and final revisions and additions side by side to help plan for curriculum shifts.  A copy of each google document is linked below.

Please review the blog post linked below for more background on the standards revision process.

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.