Massachusetts moves ahead with civics education law

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A law requiring all public schools to integrate civics courses into their curriculum was unanimously passed by the Massachusetts House on Wednesday, May 30. The law, if also passed by the Senate, would require Massachusetts public schools to teach classes on the U.S. Constitution, the electoral process, and media literacy.

According to a press release on the law, the new courses would “create avenues for students to further engage in the subject.”

The House version of the law would create a Civics Project Trust Fund to back the civics classes that would be added to the original curricula of Massachusetts schools.

Along with additional courses, the trust fund would be used to create the “Commonwealth Civics Challenge.” The challenge encourages students to be competitive in their courses and display research projects that showcase their knowledge.

A proper civics education would be “an important step toward ensuring that Massachusetts students are adequately prepared for the responsibilities of citizenship,” according to the release.

State Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth), a staunch supporter of the law, is quoted by the release advocating for the importance of a quality civics education during the meeting. “The strength of our democracy is dependent on a civically engaged and well-informed electorate,” said Fernandes. “Over the past year, young people have proven that when they get involved in politics they transform the debate; this legislation will empower the leaders of tomorrow.”

Attorney General Maura Healey has been a consistent and active champion of civics education, and her office will be reviewing the law.