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Board of Ed adds more civics for Indiana middle schoolers

The Indiana State Board of Education recently approved the creation of a middle-school civics class as well as updated standards for k-12 science and k-8 computer science.

The civics class will be taught during the second semester of sixth grade, and certain geography standards from the grade—such as knowing and placing on a map the continents, oceans and hemispheres—will be pushed back to seventh and eighth grade.

The three prongs of the civic standards are “Foundations of Government,” “Function of Government” and “Role of Citizens.”

The class is the result of House Bill 1384, which was passed last year and created the Indiana Civics Education Committee, a group made up of 16 members, including four from the General Assembly.

It was also in 2021 that former governor and soon-to-retire president of Purdue University, Mitch Daniels, introduced a civics literacy requirement for Boilermakers.

In 2021, the Annenberg Public Policy Center found just 56% of Americans knew all three branches of government, and about four-fifths of respondents could name at least one right found in the First Amendment.

Those who took a civics class in high school were more likely to be correct, according to the center.

The state’s science standards were last updated in 2016 and will now concentrate more on “active student engagement” and “build logically” through the grades, according to the Department of Education.

The new standards, along with the civics class, will go into effect for the 2023-2024 school year. Jack Sells