ST. PAUL – Legislation Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, authored to restore civics as a priority in Minnesota schools received final approval from the Legislature during its recent special session.
The provision Urdahl successfully added to an omnibus education bill “encourages” school districts to have students earn credit for a course in government and citizenship in either the 11th or 12th grade as part of the 3.5 credits required for social studies. Urdahl said the measure is a step forward in giving civics a more prominent place in the classroom, even if the language is not as tight as he would prefer.
“We reached a compromise that will move the needle on civics education,” Urdahl said. “This is progress, especially since this provision at one point was stripped from the omnibus education bill. Restoring it to any degree was a win and I look forward to continuing efforts to help our children become proficient in government so they grow to be knowledgeable, civic-minded members of our republic.”
A report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed less than 30 percent of students were proficient in civics, and that a significant gap persists among racial and ethnic groups.
Urdahl’s provision was approved as part of an overall education package (HF1) which provides Minnesota schools with a 2-percent funding increase each of the next two years. Urdahl served on the conference committee which prepared the bill for final passage in the House and the Senate. It now is in the hands of Gov. Tim Walz for enactment.