Civics Learning Project is pleased to announce that The Civics Education Act (HB2299/SB513), a bill ensuring that every Oregon high school student will receive one semester of civics education, has passed in both the Oregon Senate and House. It is now headed to Gov. Brown’s desk for signature.
For more information about the bill and the value of Civics Education to Oregon teachers and students, read this press release [PDF] or this letter [PDF] from state Rep. Paul Evans to the Oregon House Education Committee.
This bill has sparked a statewide conversation about civics education, resulting in coverage in a number of press outlets, collected on this page.
Civics education is essential to a democratic society. Recent events clearly demonstrate that we need to reaffirm and reinforce our commitment to empowering students with the tools that will sustain our democracy and their future. Oregon is one of only 11 states that do not require a civics education class for graduation. We must do a better job of preparing our youth with the knowledge of the rights and responsibilities we each share to participate in our communities and make positive changes in the world around us.
We extend a deep thank you to the hundreds of educators, public leaders, organizations, businesses, and individuals who signed the letters of support for this bill. Many legislators indicated that the outpouring of public support helped them make their final decision to vote YES.
Civics Education is Essential
Civics education builds a foundation for a common understanding – across the political spectrum – that is the foundation of a healthy democracy. Unfortunately, too many of our students are graduating without a solid grasp of how our democracy works and the fundamentals of our civic society. The Civics Education Act is a powerful solution to this problem.
The Civics Education Act is simple. It provides that every high school student will receive one semester of civics education prior to graduation. The Civics Education Act does not increase the number of credits that students need to graduate. It simply ensures that one semester out of the three years of social studies currently required by the Department of Education will be focused on teaching civics. Strong civic education standards already exist, and the requirement will apply to high school diplomas awarded on or after January 1, 2026, giving schools time to incorporate a civics course into the curriculum for all high school students.
This recent article, featuring the class of long-time CLP teacher Gail Greaney in Sisters, highlights the lasting impact civics education has on students. All our students deserve the opportunity to benefit from civics education.
How You Can Help
The Civics Education Act has been introduced in the House and the Senate and will have its first hearing in the Senate Education Committee on March 10.
Please join us in signing one of these letters that we will share with key legislators as a demonstration of widespread bipartisan support for civics education in Oregon.
With the hearing only days away, we are trying to move quickly so please reach out to Erin Esparza at [email protected] if you have any questions or if there is any further information we can provide.
Thank you for joining Civics Learning Project in support of this important legislation.