Public hearings scheduled to discuss Civic Education Task Force

Public invited to participate in hearings to discuss task force’s report

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Students, educators and interested citizens are invited to offer their feedback as a new task force reviews civic course requirements and social studies learning standards in Illinois.

The review is part of an ongoing effort to update Illinois Learning Standards that began in 2010 with the state’s adoption of new English language arts and math standards, followed by physical education in 2013 and science standards earlier this year. The focus has now shifted to reviewing art and social studies standards as state officials work to ensure benchmarks are updated in all subjects for a comprehensive education.

Beginning next week, the Illinois Task Force on Civic Education will host a series of public hearings to discuss its recent report submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly.

“We are excited and eager to continue to revamp learning standards in Illinois,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “The civic education public hearings offer an excellent opportunity to bring people together to discuss one of the key components of a well-rounded education.”

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) established the task force to analyze the current state of civic education, examine civic education inside and outside of Illinois, define best practices, and make recommendations to the General Assembly as called for under Public Act 098-0790.

The task force, made up of legislators and a diverse group of representatives, conducted four monthly meetings last spring and consulted current research and policy on civic education in order to develop the report submitted to Governor Pat Quinn and the General Assembly in May. The task force report defines civic education and makes recommendations regarding civics course requirements, revisions of social studies standards in Illinois, project-based/service-learning requirements for students, licensure/professional development for civics teachers, and student involvement in elections.

“Our task force made a series of recommendations to the Illinois General Assembly in May intended to strengthen the state’s civic education system,” said Shawn P. Healy, chair of the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition and the Civic Learning and Engagement Scholar at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “The upcoming public hearings are an excellent opportunity for students, teachers, school leaders, parents and community members to have their voices heard and ensure that all Illinois youth graduate high school college, career and civic ready.”

Public hearings are scheduled for the following dates:

·         4-6 p.m., Oct. 13,  University of Illinois at Chicago – Student Center East, Room Illinois B, 750 S. Halsted St., Chicago

·         4-6 p.m., Oct. 15, Willowbrook High School, 1250 S. Ardmore Ave., Villa Park

·         4-6 p.m., Oct. 21, Lanphier High School, 1300 N. 11th St., Springfield

·         4-6 p.m., Nov. 6, Carbondale Community High School, 1301 E. Walnut St., Carbondale

Each hearing will invite comments from attendees. Those who are unable to attend a hearing may submit comments via email at until Nov. 7.  All comments will be included in the final report submitted to the General Assembly at the end of the year.

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