Education task force touts new civics classes for middle schools

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (ADAMS) – Last week, Governor Holcomb signed House Bill 1384, which establishes standards for civic education, creates the Indiana Civic Education Commission and requires all middle school-aged students to take a semester of civics.

Leaders with the Indiana Bar Foundation released the following in celebration of the signing:

The bill is a result of recommendations from the Indiana Bar Foundation’s civic education task force chaired by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. The task force met throughout 2020 and released their recommendations to improve civic education for Hoosiers in this report. Rep. Tony Cook, a member of the task force, sponsored the bill.

“In order to maintain our government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” we need to pass down civic knowledge from generation to generation. Civic education is a fundamental building block that each new generation of citizens needs to be informed and engaged in our democracy in order for it to function properly and thrive,” Charles Dunlap, president of the Indiana Bar Foundation, said.

House Bill 1384 accomplishes several recommendations of the civic education task force’s report. Additional recommendations include establishing a recognition program for showing exemplary outcomes in civic learning and providing more quality opportunities and resources for teachers seeking professional development in civics.

The Indiana Bar Foundation is ready to provide middle school civics teachers with quality professional development through the We the People program. We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution is a curriculum that teaches the history and principles of the American constitutional democracy and enhances students’ understanding of government through an interactive curriculum and authentic assessments.

The Indiana Bar Foundation also organizes regional and state civics competitions where elementary, middle and high school students testify in mock congressional hearings before a panel of judges made up of volunteer attorneys, professors and other community members.