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Seal on diploma will be badge of honor for civically active California students

By in Press Enterprise on November 2, 2017

By EdSource


Rebel, the 20-foot tall mural of a Civil war soldier carrying a rifle, may soon be sanded and scraped off the gym wall and into the dustbin of history at Savanna High in Southern California.

All because students got involved and came up with a recommendation for their school board.

Their work is just the type of civic engagement that in the future should earn students a California Seal of Civic Engagement, said Michelle Herczog, a history consultant with the Los Angeles County Office of Education and activist for civics education. When first awarded, probably in 2021, students who put good grades in civics, social studies and government to good use in the community will see the seal affixed to their high school diploma.

A majority of 2,000 students at the Anaheim Union High School District school have voted to “rebrand” the school’s mascot, keeping the school’s “rebel spirit” while dropping the association with the Confederacy. About a quarter of students voted to keep Johnny Reb as is.

They made the decision thoughtfully, without rancor. Students throughout the school spent a week studying the Confederacy and how the mascot was adopted at their school. They organized a town hall meeting at school. Students presented opposing points of view and will present their recommendation to the school board next week.

The Seal of Civic Engagement will join the Seal of Biliteracy, recognizing fluency in multiple languages, and the long-standing Golden State Seal Merit Diploma, recognizing overall academic excellence, as the civics equivalent of the Armed Forces’ oak leaf cluster to honor meritorious service.

It was created by Assembly Bill 24, authored by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, in an effort to revive civics education. It was signed into law earlier this month. Who will be eligible for it and the criteria for awarding it will […]    

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