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Senate Bill 1238 — Civics requirement

Senate Bill 1238 — Civics requirement

Lindsay Atkinson
January 31, 2020

Bill description: SB 1238 would allow Idaho students a new method to meet the state’s civics graduation requirement, while also earmarking money for professional development.

Rating: 0

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

High school students in Idaho must complete a civics test to meet graduation requirements. They have to prove they have civics-based knowledge by passing some combination of questions from the US Citizenship Naturalization Test, or a similar test set by the school district they are in. 

SB 1238 would add that Idaho high school students can also meet this graduation requirement through “participation in a course in United States government and politics and participation in an associated college credit-bearing examination.” This would allow students to take civics-related courses offered by specialized programs like AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) and have the associated exams meet this graduation requirement.


Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

SB 1238 states that “subject to state-appropriated funds, the state department of education shall make available funding for high-quality professional development focused on advanced high school civics or government courses.” It would specifically allow funds to be used for summer institutes and workshops “to help high school teachers prepare students for success in college-level courses.” 

Thus, this bill would earmark taxpayer money to be used for a specific, limited purpose: The professional development only of instructors of high school level civics and government.


Analyst’s Note: This rating was updated on 1/31 to reflect further information received from contacts connected with the bill.

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