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Oregon Senate passes bill that would require civics course for high school students

Senate Bill 513, if signed into law, would require that Oregon high school students take a semester of civics education prior to graduation.

Posted: Apr 7, 2021 2:42 PM
Updated: Apr 7, 2021 2:44 PM

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would require high school students take a semester of civics education prior to graduation.

Senate Bill 513 was carried by Republican lawmakers, but it passed the chamber with widespread bipartisan support in a 25-3 vote.

The Oregon Department of Education already has standards in place for civics and government studies, but the bill ensures that students receive dedicated class time over a semester-long course. Students will need to complete at least a one-half credit in civics to receive a high school diploma, though that requirement does not apply until 2026.

“This is an important and timely piece of legislation,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod. “The past year has shown how government decision-making can deeply impact lives and livelihoods – for better or for worse. As kids return to school, it's important they understand the ins and outs of how decisions get made and how they can be involved. This is a good, bipartisan bill that I urge our colleagues in the House to pass.”

Republicans said that the bill has broad support from educators, Oregon business leaders, government officials, and other citizens. 

“Oregon teachers support this bill because we know that civics instruction prepares students for their imminent participation as voters, as working adults, and as citizens in their communities,” said Kevin Lepley, President of the Oregon Council for the Social Studies. “There is inequity in civics education where some students receive dedicated focus on the subject while others receive limited instruction scattered across multiple social science classes. This inequity has real implications for our students and our society and it must be addressed.”

The bill now goes onto the Oregon House of Representatives for consideration. The House version of the bill is introduced by Democratic Rep. Paul Evans.

“We are either serious about civics education and pass this legislation or we are going to continue to kick the can down the road and we are going to continue to see a public that does not know how to vote for their own self-interest because they don’t understand how government works," said Rep. Evans. "Now is the time to pass this bill and I look forward to working with my fellow representatives to advance SB 513.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 173626

Reported Deaths: 2457
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34641566
Washington23309229
Marion20037299
Clackamas15216204
Lane11478144
Jackson9846127
Umatilla795383
Deschutes698772
Linn410763
Yamhill407074
Malheur342558
Polk341752
Klamath340859
Josephine304262
Douglas302765
Benton272518
Jefferson205932
Coos196631
Columbia153326
Union141124
Lincoln129720
Wasco128628
Hood River112429
Morrow107815
Clatsop8838
Crook86819
Baker85114
Curry5919
Tillamook5763
Lake4137
Grant4044
Harney3046
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam551
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

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Cases: 3714587

Reported Deaths: 60922
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122811823601
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2944644544
San Diego2745663662
Orange2687624886
Santa Clara1167722013
Kern1077641317
Sacramento1010581646
Fresno1004311642
Alameda850891475
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa66839781
Stanislaus603061028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43260352
San Mateo41050560
San Francisco35947517
Santa Barbara33830446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29632311
Imperial27920718
Kings22755245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16234239
Santa Cruz15554203
Marin13851226
Yolo13547199
Shasta11677217
Butte11529196
El Dorado9688109
Napa965479
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito596963
Lassen566624
Tehama543056
Nevada444775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador361646
Humboldt358737
Lake339943
Glenn235425
Colusa219216
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4197
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
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