It does not have the glamour of a standardized test, nor is it one of the STEM fields, but without social studies, where would we be? “The original mission of our public schools was civics education,” says the executive director of the Citizen Advocacy Center, a statewide group based in Elmhurst, lauding the signing into law of a bill mandating civics education in high schools. “There are several different kinds of civics models,” says Maryam Judar, “and that includes simulating government processes, that includes having authentic experiences in the community.”

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Anybody who has seen lobbyists ply their trade around the rail in the Capitol or has seen some of the horse-trading going on can tell you real life is not the same as a textbook. Saying it's not Schoolhouse Rock, Judar said, “as my collaegues have said, just trying to get this bill passed is a civics education in and of itself!” The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is helping front the money for three years' worth of teacher training.

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