ST. PAUL – A measure Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, authored to restore civics as an educational priority was included in an omnibus education package approved by the House Tuesday night.
The provision defines experiential learning in order to establish which activities are applicable to meeting existing Minnesota academic benchmarks in social studies. Urdahl successfully added the measure as an amendment to the House’s omnibus education bill (H.F. 2400) after a number of his civics proposals were stripped from it late in the committee process.
Urdahl said he now will focus on bringing other lost civics provisions back into the equation as the bill is prepared for a vote on final passage. Urdahl said his top priority is salvaging a bill requiring schools to offer civics classes to high school juniors or seniors for credit. The proposal was left out of the omnibus education package which came to the floor Tuesday, even though it is sponsored by a majority 69 members in the House.
“That’s the biggest piece to restoring civics as a priority in our schools,” Urdahl said. “Reports show barely one in four Minnesota students are graduating with proficient civics knowledge. Make any flimsy excuse you want, it’s not going to change the fact we’re failing our children and our nation by not doing well enough to teach them civics. I’m just going to keep working to get civics for juniors or seniors back in the omnibus bill and we’ll see if it’s there in the end.”
Overall, the bill provides $900 million in new E-12 education funding in the upcoming biennium, with increases of 3 percent in 2020 and 2 percent in 2021. The bill now heads to the Senate with a May 20 adjournment date for the Legislature approaching.