The California Department of Education began rolling out a new history-social science framework this week that emphasizes civic learning. The move marks the culmination of efforts initiated more than three years ago by the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning, a task force created by the Chief Justice and State Superintendent Tom Torlakson.

The framework includes the basics of democratic principles, but also has examples of hands-on learning–participating in mock debates, mock trials, attending local government meetings, and volunteering in elections.

The Department of Education is holding eight conferences around the state this year to help school districts implement the new framework for their K-12 students. In addition, instructional materials based on the framework will be available this fall.

Chief Justice Continues the Push for More Civic Learning
The Chief Justice and the Power of Democracy Steering Committee, whose members include leaders from law, education and civil society, have also partnered with the State Superintendent to co-sponsor Civic Learning Awards. The awards recognize California public schools for providing high quality civic learning opportunities to all their students.

In addition, “civics” was added as a prominent search term on My Digital Chalkboard, an online toolkit for educators that now has more than 150 free civic lessons and resources.