By Bob Katzen
The Senate 39-0, approved an amendment providing $1.5 million for the Civics Project Trust Fund to promote civics education in the state.
Amendment supporters said that this funding is a beginning and will capitalize the Civics Project Trust Fund, created by the Legislature last year as part of a broader civics bill, to support the infrastructure, curriculum resources and professional development needed to integrate high-quality civics education into our schools beginning in September 2020.
“This money is a down payment on the future of civics education in Massachusetts,” said Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester), the sponsor of the amendment. “The students that will take these history courses and participate in these civics projects are the future leaders of this state. The future leaders of this state deserve a curriculum that has received robust investment.”
The civics education law that was signed into law last year added more topics the civics courses must cover including the function and composition of the branches of local, state and federal government; the roles and responsibilities of a citizen in a democracy; the development of skills to access, analyze and evaluate written and digital media as it relates to history and civics; community diversity and historical trends in voter registration; civic participation relative to disenfranchised voter populations; opportunities to identify and debate issues relative to power, economic status and the common good in democracy.
Other provisions include requiring each public school serving grades eight to 12 to provide at least one student-led civics project for each student; and requiring the state to provide information to cities and promote youth membership on municipal boards, committees and commissions.