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Increased civics education approved by House committee

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(Capitol News Service)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Civics education could soon be coming to a high school near you if it’s not already being taught, as a Florida House committee voted Wednesday to increase civics education beginning in the 2021-22 school year.

The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee voted 12-0 for state Rep. Ben Diamond’s bill (HB 581) to increase civics education. The courses would be nonpartisan and promote civil discourse. Not only would students learn about the country’s history, but they would also have to have a hands-on project.

“One of the key goals of this bill is to help young people be able to consider differing points of view, differing perspectives on a problem,” said Diamond, D-St. Petersburg.

Diamond thanks his parents, whom he called “consummate volunteers,” for his interest in public service.

In a 2018 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, one in three people could not name all three branches of government.

The legislation has the full support of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“You know, everyone is on their devices all the time. Stand up, look someone in the eye, make an argument, take a position, get engaged in a given take on a one-on-one basis like that," DeSantis said. “I think that’s a good opportunity for students.”

Civics is already mandated in middle school. The legislation would mandate it in high school and students’ involvement may be counted toward meeting community service requirements for participation in the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.