Wisconsin civics education requirement: Assembly passes bill

A statewide civics curriculum would be created that all Wisconsin public and private schools would have to follow under a Republican-authored bill the state Assembly passed on Tuesday.

The measure would also require all public school students to take at least a half credit in civics education in order to graduate.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos introduced the bill, saying the country faces a "civics education crisis."

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The Wisconsin Association of School Boards says nearly all school districts are already providing civics education and if the bill were to become law, they would hope those districts could continue using the same curriculum.

The measure is also supported by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

Under the bill, the required civics curriculum would have to include teaching the history and context of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and "a sense of civic pride and desire to participate regularly with government at all levels."

The bill passed the Assembly on a 61-37 vote, with all Republicans and Democratic Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, of Milwaukee, voting yes. All other Democrats voted against it. The measure now heads to the Senate, which must also pass it before it would go to Gov. Tony Evers.

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