Civic Education Policies: State Profile

Civic Education Policies: State Profile - Iowa

December 2016


Data are collected using publicly available state statute, administrative code and, in some cases, curriculum and standards frameworks. A profile was sent to each state for review and modification, as needed.


Description Citation/Link
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies High School Graduation Requirements
Are there high school graduation requirement in civics or citizenship education? Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year graduating class, all students in schools and school districts shall satisfactorily complete at least three units of social studies. The three units of social studies may include the existing graduation requirements of one-half unit of United States government and one unit of United States history.

In implementing the high school program standards, the following curriculum standards shall be used.

Social studies instruction shall include citizenship education, history, and the social sciences. Instruction shall encompass the history of the United States and the history and cultures of other peoples and nations including the analysis of persons, events, issues, and historical evidence reflecting time, change, and cause and effect. Instruction in United States government shall include an overview of American government through the study of the United States Constitution, the bill of rights, the federal system of government, and the structure and relationship between the national, state, county, and local governments; and voter education including instruction in statutes and procedures, voter registration requirements, the use of paper ballots and voting machines in the election process, and the method of acquiring and casting an absentee ballot. Students' knowledge of the Constitution and the bill of rights shall be assessed. Democratic beliefs and values, problem-solving skills, and social and political skills shall be incorporated. All students in grades nine through twelve must, as a condition of graduation, complete a minimum of one-half unit of United States government and one unit of United States history and receive instruction in the government of Iowa.

The board of directors of each local public school district and the authorities in charge of each nonpublic school shall require that all students in grades nine through twelve complete, as a condition of graduation, instruction in American history and the governments of Iowa and the United States, including instruction in voting statutes and procedures, voter registration requirements, the use of paper ballots and voting machines in the election process, and the method of acquiring and casting an absentee ballot.

Beginning with students in the 2010-2011 school year graduating class, high school graduation requirements for all students in school districts and accredited nonpublic schools include satisfactory completion of three years of social studies.
281 IAC 12.5(256), Iowa Code §280.9A, Iowa Code § 256.7(26)
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Standards and Curriculum Frameworks
State standards include civics or citizenship education The Iowa Core K-12 Social Studies standards (grade-cluster standards) include a strand of standards for Political Science/Civic Literacy. According to the standards, students should become “motivated to participate in civic and community life as active and informed citizens...Engaging students in the pursuit of active informed citizenship will require a broad range of understandings and skills. It will also require an articulated curriculum which connects students to the social world through informed instructional experiences led by teachers who are committed to active civic participation.”

Sample standards/benchmarks include: understanding the rights and responsibilities of each citizen and demonstrating the value of lifelong civic action by: understanding participation in civic and political life can help bring about the attainment of individual and public goals (by the end of grade 8) and understanding that constitutional democracy requires the participation of an attentive, knowledgeable, and competent citizenry (by the end of grade 12).
Iowa Core K-12 Social Studies (2010)

https://iowacore.gov/sites/default/files/k-12_socialstudies.pdf

https://iowacore.gov/iowa-core/subject/social-studies/k/political-science%E2%80%93civic-literacy
Curriculum frameworks include civics or citizenship education N/A
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Inclusion in Assessment and Accountability Systems
State assessments include civics, citizenship education or social studies N/A
 
State accountability system includes civics, citizenship education or social studies A school or school district shall collect data on the following indicators for reporting purposes: The percentage of high school graduates who complete a core program of four years of English-language arts and three or more years each of mathematics, science, and social studies. ITBS
281-12.8(256) Accountability for Student Achievement
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Addressed in Other State Statutes or Administrative Code
State statutes (laws) that address civics, citizenship education or social studies Iowa Code § 256.11 describes the educational program requirements for all schools. Social studies must be taught in grades 1-8. In grades 9-12, the program must include 5 units of social studies "including instruction in voting statutes and procedures, voter registration requirements, the use of paper ballots and voting machines in the election process, and the method of acquiring and casting an absentee ballot." All students must complete 1 unit of U.S. history and 0.5 unit of U.S. government. The U.S. government course must include the above voting procedure and study of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Iowa Code § 256.37 states that Iowa's education system must be transformed, and that the system must strive to meet several goals including "Every adult Iowan must be literate and possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship."

Iowa Code § 280.9A requires local school boards to require as a condition of graduation completion of instruction in American history, U.S. and Iowa government.. School districts with high schools must offer the opportunity to register to vote to students who are at least 17 1/2 years old.

The state board of education shall, among other duties, "Adopt rules that establish a voluntary model core curriculum and requiring, beginning with the students in the 2010--2011 school year graduating class, high school graduation requirements for all students in school districts and accredited nonpublic schools that include at a minimum satisfactory completion of four years of English and language arts, three years of mathematics, three years of science, and three years of social studies. ... The core curriculum shall include social studies and twenty-first century learning skills which include but are not limited to civic literacy ..."
Iowa Code § 256.11, Iowa Code § 256.7(26), Iowa Code § 256.37, Iowa Code § 280.9A
State administrative code addressed civics, citizenship education or social studies Topics that must be taught in grades 1-12, include social studies. "Social studies instruction shall include citizenship education, history, and social sciences. Democratic beliefs and values, problem-solving skills, and social and political participation skills shall be incorporated." Also requires a 0.5 U.S. government and one unit of U.S. history for graduation and requires that students' knowledge of the Constitution and Bill of Rights be assessed. 281 IAC 12.5(256), 281 IAC 12.5(5)(256),

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