PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Civics education is changing throughout the state of Florida. Starting in the fall of 2023, students will be taught how American democracy is different from other political ideologies like communism and authoritarianism. 

“One of the major big changes is to 12th-grade government,” Bay District Schools Director of Secondary Instruction Alana Simmons said. “And it is the addition of a civics literacy test for all seniors. And this is actually a civics literacy competency that is required at the college level.”

The school system will have to order brand-new textbooks. Bay District Schools has used $31,000 of funds to order new books.

“We want to get all this great work done prior to putting out that call for new textbooks,” Jacob Oliva, the Chancellor of the Florida Department of Education said. “So, this is in line with meeting that requirement.”

The new policy is being pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. But Bay District Schools does not anticipate the change in civics education to greatly affect the school district. 

“Civics education has been a priority of the Governor’s and you know it is also a priority of Bay District Schools,” Simmons said. “We have a very strong civics education foundation to build on and expand on.”

Bay District Schools officials said that the district tests well statewide in civics curriculum.

“We at a district level are well over 70% proficient and well over the state averages for the Civics EOC. We really have a strong foundation, K-12. We recently were able to secure grant funding to purchase civics libraries for every single school K-12.”