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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Don't know much about U.S. civics? Florida middle schoolers soon will



Sandra_Day_O_Connor_Supreme_Court_Justice  Readers of this blog know it takes agreement by the Florida House and Senate, followed by the approval of the governor, for a bill to become state law.

State lawmakers want Florida's school children to understand that system, too. After ignoring the subject of civics for a few years, the Legislature has decided it's time to create a law forcing its inclusion in the middle school curriculum.

The Florida House today unanimously approved HB 105, the Sandra Day O'Connor Civics Education Act, which would:

  • Mandate civics content in reading materials for all grade levels, beginning in 2011-12.
  • Require middle school students to take at least one semester of civics, which includes lessons on the "roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local governments; the structures and functions of the legislative, executive, and  judicial branches of government; and the meaning and significance of historic documents, such as the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States."
  • Create an end-of-course civics exam which, by 2015, must be passed in order to receive course credit.

A related bill is working its way through the Florida Senate, so far without any opposition. "We're finally going to give (bill sponsor) Rep. McBurney his wish," Senate Pre-K-12 Education Committee chairwoman Nancy Detert told the Gradebook back in February. "Because he is right."

BTW, who's that O'Connor person they named the bill after, anyway? Any relation to that Irish singer Sinead O'Connor? Love her version of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U." (Joking.)

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:54am]


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