The Thomas B. Fordham Institute just released a new report that evaluates what states expect K-12 students to learn in two key subjects: Civics and U.S. History. The in-depth standards reviews were conducted by a bipartisan team of veteran educators and subject-matter experts with deep knowledge of content standards in their respective fields, who assessed standards' content, rigor, organization, and clarity.

The final report, The State of State Standards for Civics and U.S. History in 2021, includes individual ratings for all fifty states and D.C., as well as recommendations for ensuring all students have access to a rich and balanced civics and U.S. history education.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Five jurisdictions—both red and blue—were rated “exemplary” in both subjects (Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia).
  • Another eleven states were rated “good” in both subjects.
  • Fifteen states were rated “mediocre” in at least one subject.
  • Twenty states were rated “inadequate” in both subjects.

Also included in the report is an analysis of how state standards handle the sensitive topic of race in U.S. history—a timely topic given the legislative battles now raging in states nationwide.
Pennsylvania is rated poorly:

Civics: F
Content & Rigor: 2/7
Clarity & Organization: 0/3
Total Score: 2/10

U.S. History: F
Content & Rigor: 1/7
Clarity & Organization: 0/3
Total Score: 1/10

The report is now available online here.