61st Legislature
2009 Regular Session

Passed by the House February 27, 2009
  Yeas 94   Nays 0

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Passed by the Senate April 16, 2009
  Yeas 46   Nays 0

President of the Senate

I, Barbara Baker, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is HOUSE BILL 2132 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.

Chief Clerk

Governor of the State of Washington

Secretary of State
State of Washington



Passed Legislature - 2009 Regular Session
State of Washington61st Legislature2009 Regular Session

By Representatives Quall, Anderson, Carlyle, Dammeier, Probst, Sullivan, Johnson, Hudgins, Kelley, Chase, Wood, and Santos

Read first time 02/11/09.   Referred to Committee on Education.

     AN ACT Relating to instruction in civics; amending RCW 28A.230.090; adding a new section to chapter 28A.230 RCW; and creating a new section.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   The legislature finds that although the United States has long exemplified democratic practice to the rest of the world, we ought not to neglect it at home. Two-thirds of our nation's twelfth graders scored below proficient on the last national civics assessment, and fewer than ten percent could list two ways that a democracy benefits from citizen participation. A healthy democracy depends on the participation of citizens. But participation is learned behavior, and in recent years civic learning has been pushed aside. Preparation for citizenship is as important as preparation for college and a career, and should take its place as a requirement for receiving a high school diploma.

Sec. 2   RCW 28A.230.090 and 2006 c 114 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) The state board of education shall establish high school graduation requirements or equivalencies for students, except those equivalencies established by local high schools or school districts under RCW 28A.230.097. The purpose of a high school diploma is to declare that a student is ready for success in postsecondary education, gainful employment, and citizenship, and is equipped with the skills to be a lifelong learner.
     (a) Any course in Washington state history and government used to fulfill high school graduation requirements shall consider including information on the culture, history, and government of the American Indian peoples who were the first inhabitants of the state.
     (b) The certificate of academic achievement requirements under RCW 28A.655.061 or the certificate of individual achievement requirements under RCW 28A.155.045 are required for graduation from a public high school but are not the only requirements for graduation.
     (c) Any decision on whether a student has met the state board's high school graduation requirements for a high school and beyond plan shall remain at the local level.
     (2) In recognition of the statutory authority of the state board of education to establish and enforce minimum high school graduation requirements, the state board shall periodically reevaluate the graduation requirements and shall report such findings to the legislature in a timely manner as determined by the state board. The state board shall reevaluate the graduation requirements for students enrolled in vocationally intensive and rigorous career and technical education programs, particularly those programs that lead to a certificate or credential that is state or nationally recognized. The purpose of the evaluation is to ensure that students enrolled in these programs have sufficient opportunity to earn a certificate of academic achievement, complete the program and earn the program's certificate or credential, and complete other state and local graduation requirements. ((The board shall reports [report] its findings and recommendations for additional flexibility in graduation requirements, if necessary, to the legislature by December 1, 2007.))
     (3) Pursuant to any requirement for instruction in languages other than English established by the state board of education or a local school district, or both, for purposes of high school graduation, students who receive instruction in American sign language or one or more American Indian languages shall be considered to have satisfied the state or local school district graduation requirement for instruction in one or more languages other than English.
     (4) If requested by the student and his or her family, a student who has completed high school courses before attending high school shall be given high school credit which shall be applied to fulfilling high school graduation requirements if:
     (a) The course was taken with high school students, if the academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes, and the student has successfully passed by completing the same course requirements and examinations as the high school students enrolled in the class; or
     (b) The academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes and the course would qualify for high school credit, because the course is similar or equivalent to a course offered at a high school in the district as determined by the school district board of directors.
     (5) Students who have taken and successfully completed high school courses under the circumstances in subsection (4) of this section shall not be required to take an additional competency examination or perform any other additional assignment to receive credit.
     (6) At the college or university level, five quarter or three semester hours equals one high school credit.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   A new section is added to chapter 28A.230 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) If, after the effective date of this section, the state board of education increases the number of course credits in social studies that are required for high school graduation under RCW 28A.230.090, the board shall also require that at least one-half credit of that requirement be coursework in civics.
     (2) The content of the civics requirement must include, but not be limited to:
     (a) Federal, state, and local government organization and procedures;
     (b) Rights and responsibilities of citizens addressed in the Washington state and United States Constitutions;
     (c) Current issues addressed at each level of government; and
     (d) Electoral issues, including elections, ballot measures, initiatives, and referenda.

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