Chief Sponsor: V. Lowry Snow

Senate Sponsor: Ann Millner


9     General Description:
10          This bill recognizes the critical role of an engaged and informed citizenry in a healthy
11     democratic government and the importance of civics education in preparing students
12     with the tools necessary for civic engagement.
13     Highlighted Provisions:
14          This resolution:
15          ▸     recognizes the vital role of civic engagement and the importance of informed and
16     engaged citizens in a healthy democratic government;
17          ▸     emphasizes the importance of teaching critical thinking and civic engagement tools
18     to the next generation of citizens;
19          ▸     outlines the current civics education requirements for students; and
20          ▸     encourages state and education leaders and others interested in civics education to
21     review how civics education is taught in Utah's public education system.
22     Special Clauses:
23          None

25     Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein:
26          WHEREAS, the United States of America was established nearly 245 years ago and
27     recognized by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as a "government of the people, by the people, for the
28     people";
29          WHEREAS, the United States Constitution is the foundational document for the

30     nation's system of government;
31          WHEREAS, the United States Constitution includes a system of checks and balances
32     for and among the three branches of the federal government;
33          WHEREAS, one of the pillars of a functioning and healthy democratic government is
34     informed and engaged citizens;
35          WHEREAS, a robust understanding of the nation's system of government and the role
36     of civic engagement in a functioning and healthy democratic government is particularly
37     important in a deeply partisan and divided political climate;
38          WHEREAS, to preserve our republic, it is vital that civic engagement tools be taught to
39     each succeeding generation of Americans;
40          WHEREAS, the Utah Core State Standards for Social Studies include standards for
41     United States Government and Citizenship, and local education agencies determine how to
42     teach those standards;
43          WHEREAS, Utah public high school students must take a half-credit U.S. Government
44     and Citizenship course as a requirement for graduation;
45          WHEREAS, public school students in Utah are currently required to take a basic civics
46     test prior to graduating, which includes questions used by the United States Citizenship and
47     Immigration Services, or an alternative assessment;
48          WHEREAS, H.B. 334, enacted during the 2020 General Session and defunded during a
49     subsequent Special Session, created a civics engagement pilot program requiring students in
50     the pilot districts to complete a civics engagement project - aligned with the coursework for the
51     U.S. Government and Citizenship course and the state's core standards - as a condition for
52     receiving a high school diploma;
53          WHEREAS, it has been demonstrated through national data that there is a lack of basic
54     knowledge and functional understanding about our system of government, both nationally and
55     in Utah;
56          WHEREAS, this lack of knowledge and understanding is reflected in the current
57     political environment, which is marked by a perpetual and pervasive stream of political rhetoric

58     and content delivered through various media platforms, including social media, some of which
59     is neither credible nor accurate;
60          WHEREAS, there is a need to prepare students with the tools necessary to evaluate and
61     analyze the information being disseminated constantly through media channels, including
62     social media platforms;
63          WHEREAS, Utah's students should be taught skills in constructive civil debate, critical
64     thinking, media literacy, evaluating the credibility of sources, and recognizing the dangers of
65     the dissemination of misinformation and sowing distrust in fundamental civic institutions;
66          WHEREAS, there is a need to prepare students to understand the right of free speech
67     along with the right to peaceably assemble, including for the purpose of lawful protest; and
68          WHEREAS, parents and families can also provide important lessons through word and
69     example about being informed and engaged citizens:
70          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
71     Governor concurring therein, hereby call for a renewed emphasis on civics education and
72     teaching the skills necessary for students to become better educated and prepared to become the
73     next generation of engaged citizens.
74          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and Governor encourage those who
75     are interested and informed in civics education, potentially including legislators, Utah State
76     Board of Education officials, educators, civic-minded leaders, journalists, other state education
77     leaders, parents, and additional parties to work together as part of an informal working group to
78     review how civics education is taught in Utah's public education system, and invite them to
79     share what they have learned - along with any recommendations - with state education leaders,
80     including the Legislature and the Governor.