Middletown High School, Middletown Rhode Island - 2014 | This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Yesterday, Governor Dan McKee was joined by Senator Hanna Gallo and Representative Brian Newberry to ceremonially sign into law legislation (2021-S 0076Aaa2021-H 5028Aaa) which makes civics education proficiency a requirement for all public high school graduates. The bill signing took place at Daniel D. Waterman Elementary School in Cranston.

“Strengthening civics education in our schools is crucial to creating a more engaged and informed citizenship and developing a strong generation of future leaders,” said Governor McKee. “This legislation will help ensure that our graduates have the knowledge they need to both understand and participate in all levels of government.”

“Solid civics education in public schools is absolutely critical to having an informed public,” said Senator Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), who is vice chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, serves on the Joint Commission on Civics Education, and was the sponsor of the 2005 law that led to the development of a statewide civics curriculum and standards for grades K through 12. “Students are the next generation of voters. They need and deserve to graduate with a healthy knowledge of how they can create the changes they want to see in their community, their state and their country.”

“A thorough grounding in civics should be a cornerstone of every education consisting of two parts,” said Representative Newberry (R-Dist. 48, North Smithfield, Burrillville). “First it should contain a deep understanding of the foundation of our nation’s government systems and structures, with neither their imperfections whitewashed nor their subtlety, genius and keen reflections of the limitations and foibles of human nature downplayed or diminished. Second, it should contain practical instruction in how government at all levels works, the interplay between those levels, the limitations on power and constructive ways in which to effect change in public policy.”

The legislation will take effect beginning with the class of 2023.

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