Civic Education Policies: State Profile

Civic Education Policies: State Profile - Pennsylvania

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? Social Studies--3 planned courses, each 120-clock hours. History and Government of the United States and Pennsylvania shall be taught as required in section 1605 of the Public School Code of 1949.

In all public, private or parochial schools, there shall be integrated in the social studies curriculum courses of study as provided in this act. It shall be the duty of the superintendent having supervision over any high school to prepare, and recommend to the board of school directors maintaining the same, suitable courses of study, which shall be adopted by said board of school directors, with such changes as they may deem wise, subject to the provisions of this act. During grades seven through twelve inclusive, there shall be included at least four semesters or equivalent study in the history and government of that portion of America which has become the United States of America, and of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, of such nature, kind or quality, as to have for its purpose the developing, teaching and presentation of the principles and ideals of the American republican representative form of government, as portrayed and experienced by the acts and policies of the framers of the Declaration of Independence and framers of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. The study of the history of the United States, including the study of the Constitution of the United States and the study of the history and Constitution of this Commonwealth, shall also be such as will emphasize the good, worthwhile and best features and points of the social, economic and cultural development, the growth of the American family life, high standard of living of the United States citizen, the privileges enjoyed by such citizens, their heritage and its derivations of and in our principles of government. Such instruction shall have for its purpose also the instilling into every boy and girl who comes out of our public, private and parochial schools their solemn duty and obligation to exercise intelligently their voting privilege and to understand the advantages of the American republican form of government as compared with various other forms of government.
 
22 Pa. Code § 57.31, 4 Pa. Code § 16-1605, 24 P. S. § 16-1605
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Standards and Curriculum Frameworks
State standards include civics or citizenship education The Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Civics and Government (grade-level standards for PreK-8, 9 and 12 and course-specific for high school) include a strand of standards for “Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.” The standards are “based on the Public School Code of 1949 which directs ‘teaching and presentation of the principles and ideals of the American republican representative form of government as portrayed and experienced by the acts and policies of the framers of the Declaration of Independence and framers of the Constitution of the United States and Bill of Rights’. The intent of the Code is that such instruction ‘shall have for its purpose also instilling into every boy and girl who comes out of public, private and parochial schools their solemn duty and obligation to exercise intelligently their voting privilege and to understand the advantages of the American republican representative form of government as compared with various other forms of governments.’”

Sample standards/benchmarks include: identifying personal rights and responsibilities (grade 3), describing how citizens resolve conflicts in society and government (grade 8), and evaluating an individual's civil rights, responsibilities and obligations in various contemporary governments (grade 12).
Academic Standards for Civics and Government Grades PreK-3 (2012)

http://static.pdesas.org/content/documents/PreK-2_Civics_and_Government_Standards.pdf

Academic Standards for Civics and Government Grades 3-8 (2012)


http://static.pdesas.org/content/documents/Academic_Standards_for_Civics_and_Government_(Elementary).pdf

Academic Standards for Civics and Government Grades 9, 12

http://static.pdesas.org/content/documents/Academic_Standards_for_Civics_and_Government_(Secondary).pdf
Curriculum frameworks include civics or citizenship education N/A. At this time, the Social Studies Curriculum Frameworks are under construction. Pennsylvania Curriculum Frameworks

https://www.pdesas.org/module/sas/curriculumframework/#
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 N/A
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Addressed in Other State Statutes or Administrative Code
State statutes (laws) that address civics, citizenship education or social studies Civics is a mandated subject that must be taught at the elementary level in all public and non-public schools.

The character education curriculum includes "Citizenship, including love of country, concern for the common good, respect for authority and the law and community mindedness."

Courses of study include social studies. "During grades seven through twelve inclusive, there shall be included at least four semesters or equivalent study in the history and government of that portion of America which has become the United States of America, and of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, of such nature, kind or quality, as to have for its purpose the developing, teaching and presentation of the principles and ideals of the American republican representative form of government, as portrayed and experienced by the acts and policies of the framers of the Declaration of Independence and framers of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. The study of the history of the United States, including the study of the Constitution of the United States and the study of the history and Constitution of this Commonwealth, ... Such instruction shall have for its purpose also the instilling into every boy and girl who comes out of our public, private and parochial schools their solemn duty and obligation to exercise intelligently their voting privilege and to understand the advantages of the American republican form of government as compared with various other forms of government."

Home education programs must meet state requirements and include courses in civics at both elementary and secondary levels. Three years of social studies is mandated for graduation from home education programs.
24 P.S. § 15-1511,24 P.S. § 15-1501-E - § 15-1506-E, 24 P.S. § 16-1605(a), and 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(c)(1)
State administrative code addressed civics, citizenship education or social studies Public schools provide instruction throughout the curriculum so that students may develop knowledge and skills in the following areas: ... Social studies (civics and government, geography, economics and history)."

Social studies is one of the content areas for which schools "may develop, expand or improve existing academic standards." Civics and government are described as "Study of United States constitutional democracy, its values and principles, study of the Constitution of the Commonwealth and government including the study of principles, operations and documents of government, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, how governments work and international relations."
Civics and government are established as part of the social studies curriculum and instruction for elementary, middle and high school levels.

Each school entity shall design an assessment system to determine the degree to which students are achieving academic standards, which include civics and government.
22 Pa. Code § 4.11, 22 Pa. Code § 4.12, 22 Pa. Code § 4.21, 22 Pa. Code § 4.22, 22 Pa. Code § 4.23, 22 Pa. Code § 4.52

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