Senator Kimberly Yee today spoke in front of the Arizona State Board of Education, in support of increasing civics education for all Arizona students. She noted a 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) study found that only 23% of eighth graders performed at or above the proficient level in civics.
"Civics education helps teach children the principles and history of constitutional democracy," Senator Yee told the Board. "By enhancing civics education in Arizona schools, we will create a stronger citizenry who will appreciate the practice of democracy. This is vital to our nation’s future."
Also presenting in support of civics education was Scott O'Connor, son of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who demonstrated the website iCivics.com. Founded by Justice O'Connor, it is a free and interactive online tool for teachers and students interested in improving their civic knowledge.
Senator Yee has long been a proponent of increasing content standards in the area of civics. Earlier this year, she introduced Justice O'Connor on the Arizona Senate floor and read Senate Current Resolution 1026, proclaiming the Arizona State Legislature's commitment to furthering civic education.
"The success of our Republic depends on the active participation of its citizens," said Senator Yee. "As it says in Senate Concurrent Resolution 1026, 'the lack of an educational foundation regarding the fundamentals of the democracy established by this country’s founders, and defended by generations of American soldiers, increases the potential for incivility and threatens the sustainability of our American democracy'. By enhancing civics education in Arizona schools, we will create a stronger citizenry who will appreciate the practice of democracy."
In 2015, Arizona became the first state in the nation to take the important step of requiring high school students to pass a civics exam in order to graduate.