Educational leaders in California are incentivizing active citizenship and civic awareness by creating a new Seal of Civic Engagement that students can earn for their diplomas, transcripts or certificates of completion.
Criteria for the seal was approved last week by the state Board of Education. To secure the distinction, students must exhibit excellence in civic learning, civics-related projects and contributions to their community. They also must demonstrate a keen understanding of the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution and the American democratic system.
“The future of our democracy depends on a knowledgeable and actively engaged citizenry,” State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond said. “With this new seal, we hope to prepare all students with an empathetic concern for others, a deep understanding of democracy, and the civic engagement skills needed to contribute to the welfare of their local communities, the state and the country.”
“We know that when young people activate their voices, they can be among the strongest change agents in our communities,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “Education is the cornerstone of realizing our democratic ideals, and this new seal puts additional tools in students’ hands as they work to shape the future.”
History and social science teachers worked in partnership with the California Department of Education to develop requirements for the seal, which was created through legislation signed by former Governor Jerry Brown in October 2017.
Other educational seals include the Seal of Biliteracy, awarded to students who have attained a high level of proficiency in multiple languages, and the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma, awarded to those who have demonstrated a mastery of the high school curriculum in at least six subject areas.