We last told you that HB 4024 and HB 4025 passed out of their respective committees. Before they go to the House floor, representatives are writing amendments to strengthen the bills' language. The Citizen Advocacy Center will keep you informed of developments. In the meantime, this infographic fact sheet will assist you in sparking conversation on the need for Civics Education in Illinois.
#BringCivicsBack Overview of the need for civics education in IL and currently proposed legislation
#BringCivicsBack is a brief two-page document with supporting links that includes:
The Need for Civic Education
We Know Quality Civic Education Works
The Proposed Legislation
Meeting the Need for Teacher Professional Development
Time to Act - Here's What You Can Do
#BringCivicsBack is a document written by Shawn Healy, Chair, Illinois Civic Mission Coalition and Chair of the Illinois Task Force on Civic Education.
Financial support for civics education professional development secured in public-private partnership
Read the letter to Representative Deborah Conroy from the President and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the President and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust describing the commitment of the corporate and foundation communities to supporting a public-private partnership to provide funds needed for professional development for a three-year transition period.
Note: Registration is not required to submit a witness slip. However, to keep an online log of the witness slips you've submitted, you must register from the home page by clicking on "My Legislation." The "My Legislation" tab is along the top or on the left side under Reports and Inquiry -- just above GA Dashboard. Registration will also automatically populate many of the fields on each witness slip you submit.
Based on the recommendations of the Illinois Task Force on Civic Education, Representative Deb Conroy introduced two new bills in the Illinois House to strengthen civic education in Illinois on Friday February 27, 2015. When introducing the legislation, Rep. Conroy said: "Many students graduate without even basic knowledge of current events and how to become active members of their communities."
About the Illinois Task Force on Civic Education
View this in an email newsletter format here
Last week, Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) released his draft of a Re-Authorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Sadly, there is nothing in the Bill for Civics, History, or Social Studies. Your immediate action can help remedy this.
We are proposing that Chairman Alexander and his Committee adopt a provision establishing a competitive grant program for civics that was offered by Sen. Mike Enzi and adopted and passed by the HELP Committee in 2011.
Our U.S. Senators have an opportunity to weigh-in now by contacting Sen. Alexander and ranking Member Patty Murray of the HELP Committee. Let's let them know what we want!
What you can do NOW -- before Feb 2nd
Contact Senator Durbin and Senator Kirk using the sample email text below as a guide. Below are some tips:
Sample email text below -- personalize, cut, and paste
Subject: URGENT ESEA Request
Dear Senator (insert Senator's last name):
As a (choose one: teacher, parent, student, concerned citizen), I am writing to urge you to include competitive grants to support innovative, engaging teaching of Civics and American History in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
As the Senate considers reauthorization of ESEA, please contact Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray to urge that they include the following language, which was originally drafted by Senator Enzi and included in the 2011 Committee-passed bill (with an amendment to add American History, indicated by [...]):
"Insert, in the section on Programs of National significance:
Grants shall be made to support developing, implementing, evaluating, and disseminating for voluntary school use innovative, research-based approaches to civic learning [and American History], which may include hands-on civic engagement activities, for low-income elementary school and secondary school students, that demonstrate innovation, scalability, accountability, and a focus on underserved populations."
Civic learning is vital to our nation's future. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has rightly described a "crisis" in civic learning. Please help fix this crisis by providing a small amount of Federal funding to help each state prepare the next generation to assume their rights and responsibilities as engaged and informed citizens of our Republic.
(Insert your name)
The addendum includes public comments made to the task force at the four meetings held throughout the state as well as written comments. The addendum as well as the final report can be read here: http://www.isbe.net/career/html/CETF.htm
The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education will hold four public hearings throughout the state this fall. They will begin in Chicago on October 13th and conclude in Carbondale a few weeks later on November 6th. The specific dates and venues are identified below. Each hearing is scheduled from 4-6pm.
· Monday, October 13: University of Illinois-Chicago, Student Center East
· Wednesday, October 15: Willowbrook High School, Villa Park
· Tuesday, October 21: Lanphier High School, Springfield
· Thursday, November 6: Carbondale Community High School
See complete addresses for above locations here.
Each public hearing will begin with an overview of the Public Act creating the Task Force and the charges of its membership. A brief presentation of task force findings and recommendations will follow, and the balance of the hearing will be devoted to public comment.
Comments may be submitted via email at CETFR@isbe.net until November 7th. Please provide concise comments and include your first and last name and city as well as your title and affiliation (if applicable). Comments will be published.
Please help spread the word to your contacts in the education world (students teachers, school leaders, and parents), and plan to participate in as many of the hearings as possible.
Guidelines for preparing, writing and giving testimony are available here.