Among other things, the law requires eighth-graders to complete at least one student-led civics project and it establishes a Civics Project Trust Fund, which schools can use for teacher training, curriculum development and to partner with institutions of higher education on projects related to civics. It also creates a nonpartisan high school voter challenge program to raise awareness for eligible students to register or pre-register to vote.
“I’m proud to see this important civics education bill signed into law,” Massachusetts state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Democrat who heads the Joint Committee on Education, said during the signing. “In light of recent reports of voter suppression and the perilous state of our country’s civic and political life today, this legislation is especially critical.”
Indeed, the legislation comes on the heels of a midterm election marked by “fake news,” gerrymandered districts, close contests that demanded recounts, and claims of voter fraud and suppression. Its passage is in many ways a direct response to elected officials, principals, teachers and others in public service careers who lament how little of a role civics plays in classrooms today and how it’s urgently needed so that students are prepared to understand and participate in an increasingly complicated electoral system.
Resding is job one, yet….