October 2021
Civics Secures Democracy Act Update
Congress has a full plate this fall with dueling infrastructure and budget reconciliation bills, an expiring debt limit, and the pressure to pass a full-year budget for the next fiscal year. It is our obligation as a national civic learning community to ensure that civics is among the main menu options in the “(halls) where it happens.”
The Civics Secures Democracy (CSD) Act was filed in March with bicameral, bipartisan co-sponsorship, and represents a generational investment in K–12 civic education to strengthen our constitutional democracy. Last month, the co-sponsors agreed to minor changes to the bill text in a bid to address concerns about how the $1B annual federal investment will be granted to states, nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities. We anticipate further clarity in the coming days on how this investment will be financed, another key concern raised by a number of members of Congress as we engage in our collective outreach on behalf of the bill.
In the interim, it’s critical that you double back with your Representative and Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the CSD. Share the revised bill text, along with this outstanding Washington Examiner article from David Davenport of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Davenport makes a compelling case for greater national prioritization of K–12 civics and a concomitant federal investment to transcend toxic political polarization and institutional dysfunction.
As a reminder, our CSD Toolkit includes a bill summary, contact information for congressional legislative assistants, and suggested email copy and call scripts for member outreach. Please share the results of your outreach with our new Federal Policy Associate, Abbie Kaplan, who is introduced more formally below.
The fragile state of our constitutional democracy demands a generational investment in K–12 civics. The CSD is a bipartisan vehicle to prioritize and adequately resource this critical subject area. Join us in elevating civics’ importance before members of Congress and ask them to sign their names alongside Representatives DeLauro (D-CT), Cole (R-OK), and Blumenauer (D-OR), and Senators Coons (D-DE) and Cornyn (R-TX) in support of the bill.
Yours in civics,
Shawn Healy
Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, iCivics
Inside this newsletter:
  How Private Foundations can Support Civic Education
  Introducing Abbie Kaplan
  Research: Civic Education in Highly Partisan Times
  New Coalition Members
How Private Foundations Can Support Civic Education
We heard from philanthropists firsthand at last month’s CivXNow Policy Summit about how foundations can support civic learning. Learn more in two spotlight interviews that showcase the important work of Lumina Foundation in Indiana and the Jack Miller Family Foundation and Marcus Foundation in Florida.
  CivXNow State Policy Menu
Thank you to all those funding civic education and to Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) for their partnership in producing these state case studies.
Introducing CivXNow’s Newest Team Member, Abbie Kaplan
As iCivics’ new Federal Policy Associate, Abbie Kaplan will be working with the CivXNow coalition to support overall policy strategy and advocacy work with a primary focus on federal policy.
Prior to joining iCivics, Abbie worked at Partners In Health on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. She previously worked in government relations and public policy at two large firms, McDermott Will & Emery and Bracewell LLP. As an undergraduate at The George Washington University, Abbie worked in DC public schools tutoring K–12 students, interned at a large Jewish nonprofit, and volunteered with several women's health organizations and on a number of political and issue-based advocacy campaigns. Welcome Abbie!
  CivXNow State Policy Menu
Research: Civic Education in Highly Partisan Times
In their new paper, “Do Politics in Our Democracy Prevent Schooling for Our Democracy? Civic Education in Highly Partisan Times,” Joseph Kahne (University of California, Riverside) and John Rogers (UCLA) examine the partisan make-up of a school community, district priorities, and principals’ beliefs and characteristics concerning support for civic education. Their research finds that principals’ civic engagement and districts’ expressed support for civics matters a lot, in both red and blue contexts.
  CivXNow State Policy Menu
Kahne and Rogers co-wrote an accompanying op-ed on the paper’s findings, published October 15th in the Los Angeles Times: “Attacks on school board meetings are threatening democracy. Will educators help save it?”
Meet the Newest CivXNow Coalition Members
The CivXNow Coalition is growing fast. We now stand at 176 member organizations strong; the latest additions include:
  Institute for Community Leadership
  Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center
  News Literacy Project
  California Center for Civic Participation
The Coalition remains deeply appreciative of member 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 us at CivXNow@icivics.org.
Our Mission
CivXNow is a coalition of partners from diverse viewpoints working to create a culture shift that elevates civic education and engagement as a national priority in order to protect and strengthen America’s constitutional democracy. This includes building a shared commitment to ensure that all young people are prepared to assume their rights and responsibilities to participate in civic life and address the issues facing students, their families, and communities in our increasingly dynamic, polarized, and digital society.
To achieve this goal, CivXNow advocates for bipartisan federal and state legislation that supports implementation of state and local policies that reimagine and deliver relevant, inclusive, and engaging K-12 civic learning, both in- and out-of-school.
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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