Civics must be included in middle school curriculums under legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and signed into law today.
Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean mandating the teaching of civics in middle school is now law. (Pixabay)
“A well-rounded education in civics is essential for creating knowledgeable, engaged citizens who understand the sacrifices and hardships made on behalf of our democracy,” said Kean (R-21). “The law signed today will help provide students with the skills and background necessary for them to actively participate in democratic society. Every student in our public schools will have the opportunity to learn about how our government functions, the rights of citizens, and the values our nation was built on.”
Less than 40 percent of the schools in the state voluntarily offer civics courses, according to the New Jersey Center for Civic Education at Rutgers.
Under Kean’s legislation, entitled Laura Wooten’s Law in honor of a New Jersey woman renown for her lifetime of civic service, each board of education must provide a middle school civics course beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. The civics course must address the principles underlying the American system of democracy, the function and limitations of government, and the role of a citizen in a democratic society.
“The future of our nation depends on people who appreciate the freedoms and responsibilities of our democracy,” said Kean. “The lessons learned in civics class will well prepare our school children for their future roles in government, as dedicated elected officials or as part of a well-prepared electorate.”
The New Jersey Center for Civic Education will authorize the curriculum mandated by the new law, as well as the professional development for educators, and technical assistance for middle and high school civics.