Every state in the country requires students to take courses in social studies or civics in order to graduate high school. But only 37 states require students to take or demonstrate proficiency on tests in these subjects, and just 17 include social studies or civics proficiency in accountability systems, finds a new report from the Education Commission of the States’ National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement.
The review finds that states address civics education differently in law and in state policy: Some simply require that students take social studies courses, while others specify that students take civics in particular. Some states, including Iowa and Indiana, specify that even nonpublic schools must teach American history and government. Alaska, Missouri, and North Dakota are the only states that don’t specifically address civics, citizenship education, or social studies in law.
A version of this article appeared in the January 11, 2017 edition of Education Week as Civic Education