Massachusetts lawmakers consider civics requirement for high school students

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Can you name branches of government? Or how about the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution?

Under a new bill unveiled on Tuesday, all public schools would be required to teach students American history and civics education. This includes topics such as the election process, bill of rights and function of the branches of local, state and federal government.

“We’ve had a remarkable outpouring of young people in response to the gun tragedies,” Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin told 22News. “I think that converting their anxiety, their concern, their deep passion into actual policy means making sure they understand how the process works and making sure they’re registered to vote.”

Students would not be required to take a civics exam in order to graduate. But they would have to complete two student-led civics projects; one of these must be completed after eighth grade.

The Senate is scheduled to debate the bill Thursday.

If passed into law, the civics requirement would go into effect for next year’s incoming freshman class.

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