Civics Legislation Awaits Governor's Signature
by Shawn Healy, Civic Learning Scholar
Civics legislation—HB 4025—requiring that Illinois students take a civics course to graduate from high school, was delivered to Governor Rauner on Thursday, June 25. The Governor has 60 days from the day he received the bill to sign it into law.
On May 30, the Illinois Senate approved HB 4025 with strong bi-partisan support. The bill previously passed the House, and now goes to Governor Rauner for signature. Representative Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) and Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) championed the legislation in their respective chambers.
Illinois is one of only eleven states that does not have a civic education graduation requirement. As a result, “Many students graduate without even basic knowledge of current events and how to become active members of their communities,” said Rep. Conroy.
The proposed legislation will help fill this civic empowerment gap, and bring civics back to all our schools.
"Good government is a result of public officials and residents working together to make informed decisions,” said Sen. Cullerton. “We need to ensure our young people know how government works to make sure government is working for them."
To help with implementation of the civics course, the McCormick Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, and other leading business and civic organizations from around the state, have pledged at least $1 million annually for three years to address professional development needs for teacher training throughout Illinois.