Social Studies

Civic Education Initiative

Ensure that every student is provided a high-caliber civic education from kindergarten through high school graduation.

The primary laws and regulations for civic education are:

See the complete list of social studies laws and regulations.


  1. Enhancing the rigor of social studies disciplines (civics, economics, geography, and history);
  2. Building critical thinking, problem solving, and participatory skills for engaged citizenship; and
  3. Aligning social studies academic programs to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies.

  1. Classroom instruction on government, history, law, and democracy
  2. Discussion of current events and controversial issues
  3. Service learning
  4. Extracurricular activities
  5. School governance
  6. Simulations of democratic processes

Learn more about the six proven practices:

Learn about the many ways our schools, our communities, and the Washington State Legislature support civic education.




Citizens interested in helping build this list of examples of effective civic education may contact OSPI Social Studies at 360-725-6351.

Learn more about Washington’s annual civic observances.


Social Studies Icon (3 round images, Building, Lightbulb, Globe)

Schools are rich places for civic education, that is, for the development of enlightened political engagement. Schools have both a formal curriculum—a planned scope and sequence of teaching and learning—along with daily situations of living together ‘in public,’ outside of the family, Schools, then, are both curricular and civic places that can be aimed at the education of democratic citizens. -Walter Parker, Teaching Democracy, 2003

   Updated 12/5/2017

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