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Indiana’s proposed civics education curriculum gets public review Tuesday

Indiana Statehouse - (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana Statehouse

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Proposed civics education standards for Indiana middle school students will be discussed at a public a meeting Tuesday. Lawmakers and education leaders from across the state will meet to review a draft of the standards. Beginning in 2023, middle school students will be required to take one semester of civics before starting high school.

The proposed standards are based on three indicators: the foundations and function of government, and role of citizens. The curriculum aims to help students better understand how government works and to increase their engagement in local, state and national issues.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a law in 2021 to require civics education. The legislation came out of the Civics Education Task Force, chaired by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, that seeks to find ways to improve civic education. All public, charter and state accredited private schools must offer a civics course to students starting in the 2023-2024 academic year. Students may take the course at any time between sixth and eighth grade.

The law also created the Civics Education Commission – a 16-member committee that’s responsible for creating the curriculum standards. The commission will review a draft of the curriculum standards 11 am Tuesday in the Indiana Government Center South, conference room 14. Public comment will not be taken.

Indiana’s current math, English/language arts and social studies standards were updated in 2020.

The Civics Education Commission includes the following members:

  • Brad Balch, dean emeritus at Indiana State University

  • Charles Dunlap, president and CEO of the Indiana Bar Foundation

  • Adam Ferguson, a teacher at Plainfield High School

  • Greg Gastineau, a teacher at Hamilton Southeastern High School

  • Joe Jordan, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne

  • Emily Tracy, superintendent of Brown County Schools

  • Phillip VanFossen, director and James F. Ackerman distinguished professor of social studies education at Purdue University

  • Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch or designee

  • Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner or designee

  • Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan or designee (Designee – Rachel Hoffmeyer)

  • Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice or designee (Designee – Adam Ferguson)

  • Indiana State Rep. Tonya Pfaff

  • Indiana State Rep. Tony Cook

  • Indiana State Sen. Dennis Kruse

  • Indiana State Sen. JD Ford

The Indiana State Board of Education is expected to vote on the civics standards in June. The board must vote on the standards by July 1. After that date, the standards can only be changed by the General Assembly.

Contact WFYI education reporter Elizabeth Gabriel at egabriel@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @Elizabethgabs.

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