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Middle School Civics

In 2019, a distinguished group of civics and educational leaders met to discuss ways to combat the dismal civic participation rate of Hoosiers. The meeting was called by Governor Eric Holcomb and chaired by Lt. Governor Suzzanne Crouch. A result of that meeting is the 2020 Indiana Civic Education Task Force Recommendation Report – This represented the first time in nearly 20 years, Indiana signaled that K–12 social studies students could be used as part of important public education policy. The initial outcome of that document are the new civics standards for middle school social studies. A memo from the State Board of Education, dated June 8, 2022, recommended that a “middle school civics course should be required for all six grade students during the second semester.” The standards were passed by consent at the June 8, 2022, State Board of Education meeting. Please visit review the standards. 

Several recommendations were included in the document. These included: developing authentic assessments, increasing the number of civics related courses preservice teachers need to be certified to teach the course in Indiana.  In addition, the report called for a full-year high school civics course, and adequate resources for professional development. 

The Indiana Bar Foundation is organizing professional development opportunities around the state centered on We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, and Project Citizen programs. The Purdue University Ackerman Center for the Democratic Citizenship, the Center on Representative Government at Indiana University, ICivics, the Indiana University Northwest Center for Urban and Regional Excellence, and Ball State University are also planning to support professional development for the new course. The expectation of the Indiana Department of Education is that many elementary education trained teachers will be asked to teach the new course. Few of these teachers have had much preparation to provide instruction on the civics content. Professional development is essential for the success of the new initiative. The Indiana Council for the Social Studies will monitor the development of resources and professional development opportunities and share them with the social studies network.