Help Us Advocate for Civic Education in 2021
Last year, the bipartisan “Educating for Democracy” Act was introduced in both the U.S. Senate by Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX) and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). This comprehensive, bipartisan legislation would authorize $1 billion in federal investment in civic and history education, including research, innovation, and teacher professional development.
The bill will be reintroduced early in 2021 in the new 117th Congress. Once it’s re-introduced, we will send you alerts and ask you to take immediate action. It is essential that all advocates for American history and civic education reach out to their two U.S. Senators and U.S. House member to solicit their co-sponsorship and support for the bill. We will provide you with the tools you need to effectively contact your Senators and Representative.
Thank you to all the organizations that endorsed the “Educating for Democracy” Act of 2020.
HR.8295 Institutional Endorsements
S.4928 Institutional Endorsements
Inside this newsletter:
  National Security Imperative: Prioritizing STEM over Civics is a Bad Idea
  State Coalition RFP for Up to $20,000
  Free Webinars: Get a First Look at the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap
  Illinois #CivicsIsBack Campaign Report
  Must Read: How to Educate a Citizen
  Meet the Newest CivXNow Coalition Members
National Security Imperative: Prioritizing STEM over Civics is a Bad Idea
In this op-ed, the Hon. Suzanne Spaulding, former Undersecretary of Homeland Security, and Devi Nair of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) argue that decades of prioritization of STEM subjects over civic education is a ‘Bad Idea,’ from a national security perspective. “Investing in civic education is also a tremendous return on investment for the federal government. While STEM is very important, only a limited number of students ultimately choose to pursue careers in STEM, whereas a strong civic education is important for all citizens.”
Coming Soon! State Coalition RFP for Up to $20,000
CivXNow works with and supports coalitions and entities operating within a state that are committed to advancing meaningful and bipartisan civic learning policy and practice improvements that are consistent with the recommendations outlined in the CivXNow Policy Menu. We believe that work at the state-level needs to be driven by state actors — such as the successes in Massachusetts and Illinois — and that a national organization’s best role is to facilitate and support their work so local advocates can drive the policy solutions that make sense for their state.
To assist state-level coalitions/task forces in their coalition-building and policy work, CivXNow will be opening a RFP for the opportunity to apply for up to $20,000.
To be eligible for this grant opportunity, applying state-level coalitions/task forces will need to:
  be a member of the CivXNow State Policy Task Force
  be an official CivXNow state coalition affiliate
  identify a 501(c)(3) lead applicant/fiduciary entity to receive the grant
Keep an eye out for an email when the application is live! If you have questions, please contact Patricia Leslie-Brown, Manager of CivXNow Projects.
Thank you to Carnegie Corporation of New York for their generous support of this work!
Free Webinars: Get a First Look at the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap
You've heard about it, but what is Educating for American Democracy (EAD)? Join us on Thursday, January 28 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET for a free webinar featuring Dr. Danielle Allen of Harvard University and be among the first to hear about the EAD initiative and how you can get involved.
EAD is a cross-ideological collaboration among over 300 academics, historians, political scientists, K-12 educators, district and state administrators, civics providers, students, and others from across the country to create a roadmap for history and civic education for the 21st century.
EAD is in the process of curating resources aligned to the EAD Roadmap. Our goal is to create a collection of resources that represent a diversity of organizations, perspectives, and teaching strategies, but that all fit within the inquiry-based approach that underlies the entire Roadmap. To learn more about the EAD approach, Roadmap, and how your organization can submit resources to the content curation team for review, join us at an info session on Thursday, January 14 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET.
Illinois #CivicsIsBack Campaign Report
Illinois has been an exemplar in quality civic education. Since June 2016, the Illinois Civics team has led statewide implementation of a new high school civics course requirement and revised K-12 social studies standards. Beginning last year, these efforts shifted to middle school in preparation for the parallel middle school civics course that debuted this fall. The Illinois Civics team partnered throughout with the Center for Information Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University to research and evaluate Illinois’s implementation efforts. They’ve shared their findings in the report Building for Better Democracy.
As Shawn Healy, Democracy Program Director for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and CivXNow Advisory Council member, writes in his blog post, “We wanted to both demonstrate fulfillment of our commitment to support implementation among teachers, schools, and districts, and improve our deliverables over time with process-oriented feedback, ultimately building a sustainable system of statewide supports.”
Must Read: How to Educate a Citizen
In 2020, E.D. Hirsch, Jr. published his farewell manifesto How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation (HarperCollins 2020). Hirsch, who is now 92, opens his final message to the American school system with the note that he is writing, not from the perspective of an educator concerned about the quality of our children’s education, but “as an American concerned about our survival as a high-achieving, fair, and literate society.”
Hirsch does not mince words, taking direct aim at education reform that, in his view, has abandoned “teaching knowledge coherently” in favor of teaching critical thinking skills — and in doing so “diminishing our national unity and our basic competence.”
How to Educate a Citizen is sure to ruffle some feathers, but it’s an essential read for 2021 — and food for thought as we re-imagine civics (and history).
Meet the Newest CivXNow Coalition Members
The CivXNow Coalition is growing fast. We now stand strong at 147 member organizations! We remain deeply appreciative of all of your efforts and what we have accomplished together. Our goal is to aggregate and activate large networks of support to expand and re-imagine civic education as a force for civic strength. Thank you for your partnership. If you have local or national networks that you can activate to support legislation, policy, or hearts and minds, please contact Patricia Leslie-Brown.
The latest additions to the Coalition include:
  The Democracy Project at the University of Delaware
  Flag Steward
  Indiana University Center on Representative Government
Recognizing that preparing our youth to assume the responsibilities and understand their rights as active participants in the civic life of this great nation is essential to the health of our Republic, we pledge to help every school in the nation fulfill its historic and vital civic mission. We pledge to ensure that every young person acquires the civic knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary for informed and authentic civic engagement.
The CivXNow team produces this newsletter each month.
We are grateful for the energy, time, and guidance of the CivXNow Advisory Council and to many, many others who support individual projects.
The important work of CivXNow is generously funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York,
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
Follow us and use #CivXNow to join the movement!
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