Bill Pushes Civics as Graduation Requirement

BOSTON — As a student at Lowell High School, Carline Kirksey was frustrated with some of the curriculum. Her social studies classes hardly touched cur- rent events and she knew very little about what was going on in politics.She got involved in UTEC, or the United Teen Equality Center, and helped support a bill that would support a more robust civics education in schools. It’s been eight years since Kirksey, now 23, was involved with a civics bill.

On Tuesday, “An act to promote and enhance civics engagement” was unveiled in a press conference at the State Library. Under the Senate bill, public schools would require students to complete two student-led civics projects, which aim to help students to explore the connections among federal, state and local policies. The first class to take this requirement would graduate in 2022.

The bill also would require public schools to include American history and civics in curriculum, covering national and local history, functions of government, federal and statewide constitutions, the electoral process, roles of citizens and media literacy. Students also will be expected to “identify and debate issues relative to power, economic status and the common good in democracy.” The Senate plans to debate the bill Thursday.