November 2021
Why We Advocate for Civic Education
For the past two years, the CivXNow Coalition has participated in the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) “Civics as a National Security Imperative” that focuses on the “opportunity and imperative to rediscover our shared values, relearn the fundamentals of our constitutional republic, and re-form a sense of civic identity and commitment in our communities and across the nation.”
During the CivXNow Policy Summit in September CSIS’ Senior Adviser on Homeland Security Suzanne Spaulding interviewed former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the nexus of civics and national security. Secretary Gates said:
When you have the kind of polarization and paralysis we have today because of the lack of engagement of the broad citizenry, it has real national security implications. It creates the opportunity for disinformation… It has an impact internationally. There’s a direct thread, it seems to me, between the lack of engagement of a broad cross-section of Americans in the day-to-day life of the republic, in terms of public engagement, and our polarization, paralysis, and the consequences of that in terms of our national security.
After the Summit, Politico conducted a follow-up interview with Gates in which he elaborated on the role of policymakers in prioritizing civic education, saying, “We didn’t get here overnight, we’re not going to fix it overnight. You have to pursue a variety of avenues to try and bring the issue to the forefront again.”
The CivXNow Coalition is answering this call, pursuing bipartisan policy reforms at both the state and federal levels to strengthen K–12 civic education, most prominently the bipartisan, bicameral federal Civics Secures Democracy Act. Our collective work has assumed a significance even beyond traditional education policy debates, for the fate of our constitutional democracy lies in the balance. Civic education, as emphasized by our friends at CSIS and underscored by Gates, is a matter of national security.
Yours in civics,
Shawn Healy
Senior Director of State Policy and Advocacy, iCivics
Inside this newsletter:
  Girl Scouts CEO Reflects on Civics
  Highlights from State Grant Recipients
  Recap of Our Member Meeting
  Member Survey
  New Coalition Members
Girl Scouts CEO Reflects on Civics
In November, Girl Scouts of the USA Interim CEO Judith Batty took to LinkedIn to reflect on her experience as a CivXNow Policy Summit panelist. As part of the opening session moderated by Eric Liu, co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, Batty discussed “The Importance of Civics Policy to the Health of Our Democracy” with current and former governors Tony Evers (WI), Bob McDonnell (VA), and Thomas Kean (NJ).
Batty’s piece reiterates that civic education is a central component of everything that the Girl Scouts stands for as an organization and a movement, and why the Girl Scouts introduced civic engagement badges in 2020: “Community engagement and action are a core part of the Girl Scout experience,” Batty writes. “Indeed, they are embedded in our Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”
Highlights from State Grant Recipients
CivXNow works with and supports state coalitions and entities committed to advancing meaningful and bipartisan civic learning policy and practice improvements consistent with the recommendations outlined in the CivXNow State Policy Menu. We are happy to share highlights from the important work of CivXNow grant recipients in Georgia, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
  CivXNow State Policy Menu
  Georgia Civic Renewal Coalition (through Georgia Center for Civic Engagement) focused on developing a K–12 school recognition program to encourage educational excellence in civics, advocating for the legislative establishment of a Georgia Commission on Civic Education, and supporting the Georgia Department of Education’s professional development opportunities for social studies educators.
  Nebraska Civics Coalition (through Civic Nebraska) focused on the development of Democracy Schools, strengthening civics professional development programs that emphasize media literacy and civil discourse, and prioritizing youth voices and equity in their work.
  DemocracyReady NY (through The Center for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University) focused on supporting dissemination of their media literacy education proposals. They also worked to inform New Yorkers about pending legislation based on those proposals; recruited the next cohort of DemocracyReady NY youth members from around the state; advanced research and policy development related to Civic Readiness Schools; and worked to improve teachers’ pre-service and professional development to support civic readiness.
  Rhode Island Civic Learning Coalition (through Generation Citizen) focused on funding for a research study to assess civic education in the community, providing stipends to youth leaders, diversifying and growing membership with a focus on youth and educators, and starting a youth coalition.
  Virginia Commission on Civic Education (through Virginia Civics) focused on partnering with the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Commonwealth University on the development and administration of a survey of approximately 500 high school students about civic education, offering an annual professional development program for teachers (the Virginia Civics Summit), and developing and implementing findings from their policy and practice recommendations report.
RFP for 2022 Re-grants Available Next Month
We believe that work at the state-level needs to be driven by state actors, and that a national organization’s best role is to facilitate and support this work so local advocates can drive the policy solutions that make sense for their state. To assist state-level affiliated coalition organizations in coalition-building and policy work, we are thrilled to share that next month we will be opening up an additional round of funding totaling $250,000!
Recap of Our All-Member Meeting
Thank you to those of you who were able to join us on November 18 for the final all-member meeting of 2021. It has been an eventful year for civic education and we enjoyed connecting with many of you about both the strides we've made together and the challenges we've faced this year. These reflections are critical as we lay the groundwork for our collaborative efforts in 2022 to strengthen K–12 civic education.
  CivXNow State Policy Menu
At this meeting we revisited CivXNow's core priorities, shared an update on the Civics Secures Democracy Act, and discussed the strengths and opportunities for the coalition. If you missed the meeting, notes and a recording are available for you to review.
Our next meeting will be on January 13, 2022, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET. Please mark your calendars for our 2022 member meetings on the second Thursday of every other month (January, March, May, July, September, and November) at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Member Survey — We Want Your Input!
As we begin planning coalition activities for 2022, we are seeking member input. Please take five minutes to complete this brief end-of-year survey by Friday, December 17. We value your feedback and invite you to share your reflections on this year.
  CivXNow State Policy Menu
Meet the Newest CivXNow Coalition Members
The CivXNow Coalition is growing fast. We now stand at 181 member organizations strong; the latest additions include:
  Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  Fix Democracy First
  Forum for Democracy USA
  TrueFiktion LLC
  The Democracy Group podcast network
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
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.
Follow us and use #CivXNow to join the movement!
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