With the enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act, states have innovative opportunities to provide students with a well-rounded education. Civic education is a vital aspect of a well-rounded education and states across the country have passed legislation related to civic learning and engagement. The ultimate goal is to provide students with opportunities to actively participate in civic and democratic life.

This 50-State Comparison is an update to the 50-State Comparison: Civic Education Policies, released in 2013, and provides a statewide overview of social studies and civic education legislation and identifies trends, distinctions and outliers. The Companion Report for this 50-State Comparison highlights key legislation and specific school curriculums related to civic education.

“Exploring and understanding how states across the country approach civic learning and citizenship education through policy and curriculum opens the door for opportunities for improving policies and increasing student engagement in civic issues,” said Jan Brennan, project leader for the National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement, a center within Education Commission of the States. “This 50-State Comparison serves as a resource to help states evaluate their current civic education policies and ensure their students are prepared for future civic engagement.”

Some key takeaways from this report:

  • More than half of the states require some form of civic education assessment.
  • The majority of states do not include civics, social studies or citizenship in their education accountability systems.
  • States vary considerably in the policy device and manner in which they address civic education in statute, administrative code, and curriculum and standards frameworks.

For questions, contact Education Commission of the States Communications Director Amy Skinner at askinner@ecs.org or (303) 299.3609.

Tweet this ECS report!

  • New Civic Education 50-State Comparison & Companion Report from @edcommission bit.ly/2hwA0Ob #edpolicy #civiced #civics
  • States vary in the policy device & manner in which they address #civiced. More from @edcommission bit.ly/2hwA0Ob #edpolicy #civics
  • More than half of states require some form of civic education assessment. More from @edcommission bit.ly/2hwA0Ob #edpolicy #civics

Related ECS resources that you will find useful:

The Civics Education Initiative 2015-2016
This Education Trends report explores the Civics Education Initiative and provides an update on 2015-2016 legislation.

State Civic Education Policy Framework
This Framework outlines state policies that establish preparation for citizenship as a core purpose of schools and support students’ effective civic learning and engagement.

State Civic Education Policy Gap Analysis Tool
This Gap Analysis Tool is a companion to the State Civic Education Policy Framework, guiding education leaders and policymakers in comparing their current policies and practices to evidence-based best practices.

Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning
This report reviews the “Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning” and serves as a resource for education leaders who want to put the practices in place.


 PUBLISHED: December 13, 2016

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