FROM: Citizens Advocacy Center

“A popular government without proper information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy – or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and the people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” (James Madison, Letter to W. T. Barry, 1822).

“A popular government without proper information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy – or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and the people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” (James Madison, Letter to W. T. Barry, 1822).

OVERVIEW

Illinois has a historic opportunity to restore the role of our schools in educating our next generation of citizens. Legislation has been introduced that would require Illinois high schools to provide a civics education course. Illinois is one of only ten states that does not have such a requirement, and as a result nearly 50% of students in Illinois leave high school without a required civics or government course. As Representative Deborah Conroy(D-Villa Park) stated in sponsoring the legislation, “Many students graduate without even basic knowledge of current events and how to become active members of their communities.” The proposed legislation will help fill this civic education gap, and bring civics back to all our schools.


* * SEE UPDATE BELOW * *

Did you know that Illinois is just one of 10 states in the nation that does not require Civics Education in High School?

Do you believe that a strong democracy requires educated citizens that understand how they may participate effectively to affect public policy?

If so, please join the Citizen Advocacy Center today in supporting HB 4024 and HB 4025 which will #BringBackCivics to Illinois and support teacher licensure requirements in civics education by filing witness slips by 8:00 AM Wednesday, March 25 by following the steps delineated, below.

Thank you in advance for supporting civics education in Illnois!

(Apologies to those who have already received this information.)

Go to www.ilga.gov:

1. Click GA Dashboard (red link on left side under Reports & Inquiry)

2. Click House (left column)

3. Click Committee Hearings (drop down menu after clicking “House”)

4, Click Week (on the top bar)

5. Click Committee Name (Hint: Click word “Committee” at top of column to put Committee names in alphabetical order)

HB 4024 Committee name:
Elementary & Secondary Education:
Licensing Oversight

HB 4025 Committee Name:
Elementary & Secondary Committee:
School Curriculum and Policies Committee

6. Click on the icon that looks like a sheet of paper at far right of page to view hearing details

7. Scroll to find the bill number and click on the icon at far right of page (pencil and paper) to create witness slip for that bill. There may be multiple pages.

8. Fill in all fields in Section I (unless marked optional). May put “none” for firm/business or agency and title. Or can put “Citizen” or “Concerned Citizen” for title. Section II may not apply.

9. Section III: Position Click Proponent or OpponentCAC supports these two bills

10. Section IV: Testimony: Check Record of Appearance Only — unless you will fax a written statement to 1-217-557-2165

11. Type the text, check box: I agree to the ILGA terms of agreement, click Create Slip

12. To create another witness slip: Click Create Another Witness Slip and begin again at Step 2


* * UPDATE * *

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thanks to those who filed witness slips to register support for civic education bills HB4024 and HB4025! Both bills, passed in committee on Wednesday and will be going to the House floor for a full vote.

3/26/15 Blog posts:
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. 

#BringCivicsBack Overview of the need for civics education in IL and currently proposed legislation

Overview
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.

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