Bill to Create Service Learning Curriculum Heads to Governor

Monday, September 11, 2017

SACRAMENTO—California Assemblymember Evan Low’s (D-Silicon Valley) Assembly Bill 189 to develop a high school service learning curriculum passed the Assembly today and now heads to the Governor. AB 189 requires the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to develop a model curriculum of service learning for 9th to 12th grade students.  Service learning incorporates students’ community service experiences into their coursework.

“Service learning is a down payment on our future,” said Assemblymember Evan Low. “Establishing a service learning curriculum will give high schools the tools they need to inspire the next generation to become civically engaged, socially responsible citizens.”

Service learning is a powerful instructional tool for improving student educational performance. It contributes to the development of character, values, self-esteem, civic responsibility, and knowledge of local community issues. Service learning incorporates a student’s school work directly with their experiences outside of the classroom.

Recognizing the need for civic and service learning, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson formed the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning in 2013 to assess civic education in schools. It found that too often the emphasis in the classroom is on memorization rather than participatory skills and experimental learning. Many classes did not assess whether students are prepared for their roles and responsibilities as citizens or the degree to which schools provide students with learning opportunities that achieve civic outcomes.

Unlike community service, service-learning allows students to serve their communities while relating the service experience to education received in the classroom. AB 189 will revitalize quality civic and service learning experiences in the classroom and shape students to become active and informed citizens of our state.

By implementing a service learning curriculum, students will exhibit a greater sense of character development, values, self-esteem, civic responsibility, and involvement in their community issues. Incorporating the students’ academic school work with the experiences outside of the classroom allows adolescents to become more informed citizens with their respective communities.

Assembly Bill 189 is supported by California School Board Association, California Commission on Aging, California Council for the Social Studies, California State PTA and Secretary of State, Alex Padilla. The bill heads to the Governor who has until October 15th to sign it.