Civic Education Policies: State Profile

Civic Education Policies: State Profile - Washington

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? Minimum requirements: 2.5 Credits: one credit in United States history and government, one-half credit in Washington state history and government, including the state Constitution and one credit which can be filled with an elective civics course. 

If the state board of education increases the number of social studies credits required for graduation under Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.230.090, the state board "shall also require that at least one-half credit of that requirement be coursework in civics. The content of such civics coursework must include, but not be limited to: (a) Federal, state, and local government organization and procedures; (b) Rights and responsibilities of citizens addressed in the state and United States Constitutions; (c) Current issues addressed at each level of government; and (d) Electoral issues, including elections, ballot measures, initiatives and referenda." 

In addition, minimum requirement for public, four-year colleges and universities is 3 years of social studies. Recommended courses for highly selective colleges and universities include 4 years of social studies. (Department of Public Instruction Web site)

The study of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Washington shall be a condition prerequisite to graduation. 

The legislature finds that the "purpose of a high school diploma is to declare that a student is ready for success in post-secondary education, gainful employment, and citizenship, and is equipped with the skills to be a lifelong learner." 

Pursuant to WAC 180-51-060, one credit shall be required in United States history and government which shall include study of the Constitution of the United States. No other course content may be substituted as an equivalency for this requirement.

(2) (a) Pursuant to the provisions of RCW 28A.230.170, 28A.230.090, and WAC 180-51-060, one-half credit shall be required in Washington state history and government which shall include study of the Constitution of the state of Washington and is encouraged to include information on the culture, history, and government of the American Indian people who were the first inhabitants of the state.

Pursuant to WAC 180-51-060, one credit shall be required in contemporary world history, geography, and problems. Courses in economics, sociology, civics, political science, international relations, or related courses with emphasis on current problems may be accepted as equivalencies.
WAC § 180-51-075, WAC § 28A.230.093,  WAC § 28A.230.170, WAC § 28A.230.090, WAC 180-51-060
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Standards and Curriculum Frameworks
State standards include civics or citizenship education The Washington State K-12 Social Studies Learning Standards (grade-level standards) include a strand of standards for Civics. The goal of this strand is to ensure “the student understands and applies knowledge of government, law, politics, and the nation's fundamental documents to make decisions about local, national, and international issues and to demonstrate thoughtful, participatory citizenship.”

Sample standards/benchmarks include: understanding the key ideals of justice and fairness within the context of the classroom community (Kindergarten), understanding the key ideals of unity and diversity (grade 3), and analyzing and evaluating the ways in which the U.S. Constitution and other fundamental documents promote key ideals and principles (grade 11).
Washington State K-12 Social Studies Learning Standards (2013)

http://www.k12.wa.us/SocialStudies/pubdocs/SocialStudiesStandards.pdf
Curriculum frameworks include civics or citizenship education Washington’s “Suggested Unit Outlines for Social Studies Grade Level Expectations” are based on the K-12 Social Studies Learning Standards which include a strand of standards for civics. Civics, economics, geography, and social studies skills are embedded in the framework.
examples in the unit outlines include the benefits of diversity for a community, including the increased range of viewpoints, ideas, customs, and choices available (grade 3), explaining how the Declaration of Independence establishes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as goals for our nation (grade 8), and evaluating how interest groups use money to promote their agendas and influence the political system (grade 12).
Suggested Unit Outlines by Grade

http://www.k12.wa.us/SocialStudies/EALRs-GLEs.aspx

Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Inclusion in Assessment and Accountability Systems
State assessments include civics, citizenship education or social studies Districts are required to have in place assessments or other strategies, including classroom-based assessments, to assure that students have an opportunity to learn the essential academic learning requirements in social studies."Districts must require that students in the 7th or 8th grade and the 11th or 12th grade complete at least one classroom-based assessment in civics, a requirement which will apply to students in the 4th or 5th grades beginning with the 2010-11 school year.
Rev. Code Wash. § 28A.230.095
State accountability system includes civics, citizenship education or social studies N/A Accountability requirements found in WAC 180-17
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Addressed in Other State Statutes or Administrative Code
State statutes (laws) that address civics, citizenship education or social studies The goal of the basic education act for the schools of the state of Washington includes providing "students with the opportunity to become responsible and respectful global citizens ..." and additionally requires students to know and apply core concepts of “civics and history, including different cultures and participation in representative government…”

"The legislature finds that instruction in social studies, arts, health, and fitness is important to ensure a well-rounded and complete education. In particular, the civic mission of schools is strengthened and enhanced by comprehensive civics education and assessments. The legislature finds that effective and accountable democratic government depends upon an informed and engaged citizenry, and therefore, students should learn their rights and responsibilities as citizens, where those rights and responsibilities come from, and how to exercise them."  

According to state law, “Social studies includes history, geography, civics, economics, and social studies skills.” Further, students in either seventh or eighth grade and eleventh or twelfth grade are required to complete at least one classroom-based civics assessment each.
Rev. Code Wash. § 28A.150.210, Rev. Code Wash. § 28A.230.095 
State administrative code addressed civics, citizenship education or social studies State has a social studies requirement for high school graduation. Courses must include “Washington state history and government which shall include study of the Constitution of the state of Washington and is encouraged to include information on the culture, history, and government of the American Indian people who were the first inhabitants of the state.”

Additional courses in “economics, sociology, civics, political science, international relations, or related courses with emphasis on current problems may be accepted as equivalencies.”
WAC 180-51-075

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