August 2021
August, a Month for Advocacy on Behalf of the Civics Secures Democracy Act
August is a month of summer recess for members of Congress. Most return to their states and districts to meet with constituents and underscore their “home style.” It’s therefore incumbent that friends of civic learning from coast to coast engage their state delegation in conversation about a generational investment in K–12 civic education in the form of the Civics Secures Democracy Act (CSD).
Whether attending a town hall or scheduling a one-on-one meeting with your representative or senators, our CSD Toolkit provides step-by-step instructions for scheduling such meetings and background information for advance preparation. And in case you missed it, here’s a recording of a briefing on CSD from earlier this month where we provided the latest updates on its progress and modeled how to conduct in-person or virtual meetings.
Recess will soon be over, so schedule your in-person or virtual meetings this week before Congress returns for its fall session. Should the representative or senator not be available for a meeting on a day and time convenient to you, please proceed to schedule one instead with the relevant legislative assistant in the Capitol office using this contact list. Full instructions for scheduling and conducting such meetings are available in the CSD Toolkit.
Regardless of venue or format, please report the outcomes of these critical meetings to me, Shawn Healy, at your earliest convenience to assist us in aggregating intelligence on the bill. Our goal is to announce a huge cohort of new bipartisan cosponsors on Constitution Day, September 17, underscoring CSD’s cross-ideological resonance and critical importance to strengthening our constitutional democracy.
The window to pass the transformational Civics Secures Democracy Act remains open, but we must run with this opportunity before political polarization, culture wars, and the next campaign undermine building momentum behind a generational national investment in our civic strength. Let’s leave it all on the field for our constitutional democracy. Contact your members of Congress and tell them to sign on to CSD today!
Yours in civics,
Shawn Healy
Senior Director of State Policy and Advocacy, iCivics
Helpful Resources
  CSD Toolkit
  CSD briefing
  Contact list for House and Senate education staff
Inside this newsletter:
  CivXNow Policy Summit
  State Spotlights: Oregon & Rhode Island
  Equity in Civics Education Youth Fellowship Final Projects
  New Coalition Members
Inaugural CivXNow Policy Summit, September 21–22
Register today to get early access to our revised State Policy Menu
The two-day virtual CivXNow Policy Summit will spotlight the need for civic education and discuss opportunities to accelerate progress during 2021–22 legislative sessions. The Summit will be a gathering of state legislators, state education leaders, philanthropic leaders, press, and other influencer groups including parents, teachers, and administrators. The program will feature diverse perspectives on civic education policy making, including:
  A bipartisan panel of state legislators from Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Massachusetts
  Keynote discussions with Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, filmmaker Ken Burns, and Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch
  Remarks by former Governor Thomas H. Kean (R-NJ), as well as Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), co-sponsor of the bipartisan Civics Secures Democracy Act
Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in breakout groups and state-specific working sessions to connect around shared interests and discuss strategies for implementation. See the full schedule of the panels and sessions at
Our revised State Policy Menu will be officially published and featured at the Summit. Register now to receive a pre-release copy. The stage has been set for strengthened state civic education systems and now is our time to catalyze that momentum across the country.
State Spotlights: Oregon and Rhode Island Join the Ranks of States with High School Civics Requirements
This spring and summer, Oregon and Rhode Island became the 42nd and 43rd states, respectively, to require at least a semester of civics in high school. CivXNow State Policy Task Force Members Margaret Kirkpatrick, Board Member, Classroom Law Project, and Arielle Jennings, New England Executive Director, Generation Citizen, deserve special mention for leading successful advocacy efforts in Oregon and Rhode Island, respectively.
Oregon’s Senate Bill 513 (SB 513) takes effect on January 1, 2022 and requires incoming high school freshmen (class of 2026) to complete at least one-half credit of civics in order to graduate.
Rhode Island’s Civic Literacy Act (S 76), which will be implemented during the 2022–23 school year, requires middle and high school students to demonstrate proficiency in civics as part of a one-half credit or course requirement in history and social studies. Students also must complete a civics project in middle or high school that makes evidence-based claims, demonstrates an understanding of policies throughout the federal system, and includes issues “that may impact the student’s community.”
CivXNow recommends civics course requirements in both middle and high school, with associated project-based assessments. We salute Oregon and Rhode Island for aligning with these recommendations, wrapping up a highly successful spring 2021 legislative session for civics. May other states follow in their footsteps in 2022 and beyond.
Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship Final Projects Make Case for Stronger K–12 Civic Education Policies
CivXNow’s Policy Menu recommends that youth voice and participation is included in education and community decision-making. In this spirit, participants in iCivics’ 2020–21 Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship engaged in collaborative, virtual workshops and online leadership experiences throughout the year, developing their social media and digital storytelling skills to describe the state of civic education in their geographically and demographically diverse communities.
The Fellowship culminated in a series of final projects, including panels in which Fellows crafted their own questions, developed talking points, and facilitated the ensuing conversation. One panel in particular focused on students’ take on civic education policy.
Fellows also conducted a national listening tour of 4,841 unique participants, researched equitable access to civic education in their states and/or districts, launched a related social media campaign, were featured in media interviews, and produced writing projects, videos, and other creative outputs.
This body of work is particularly impressive given it was produced in the midst of a pandemic and widespread social unrest. Hats off to the 2020–21 Youth Fellows!
Meet the Newest CivXNow Coalition Members
The CivXNow Coalition is growing fast. We now stand at 172 member organizations strong, with the latest additions including the following:
  Civic Essentials Education Fund
  Latinos for Educational Advocacy and Diversity
We remain deeply appreciative of your efforts and of all 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. To our Coalition members, thank you for your partnership.
If you are part of an organization interested in joining the Coalition or learning more, please contact Patricia Leslie-Brown.
Our Mission
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.
A Team Effort
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.
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