Monday, December 8, 2014

Illinois Voters Voice Strong Support for Civic Education Requirements

by Shawn Healy, PhD, Civic Learning & Engagement Scholar, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute (PSPPI) conducted its annual statewide poll from September 23 through October 15, 2014. The poll included three questions pertaining to civic education which mirror recommendations of the Illinois Task Force on Civic Education that would require legislative action by the Illinois General Assembly. They encompass a required civics or government course for high school graduation, along with student service projects in both middle and high school.

Based on a poll of 1,006 registered voters across Illinois, and with a margin of error of plus or minus three-percent, PSPPI found broad support for these recommended civic education requirements. The high school civics course polled best, with more than three-quarters of respondents favoring it strongly (56.6%; see Figure 1) or somewhat (22.9%).

Figure 1: Would you favor or oppose a proposal to require all Illinois high school students to take or pass a civics or government course in order to graduate?

More than two-thirds of survey respondents strongly (45.1%; see Figure 2) or somewhat (22.7%) favored a required service project for high school graduation. Support fell slightly for a similar requirement at the middle school level (33.8% favored strongly and 22.5% somewhat).


Figure 2: Would you favor or oppose a proposal to require all Illinois students to complete a community service project in order to complete middle of high school?

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