November 2022
Celebrate Civics and Its Vital Importance to Our Constitutional Democracy
As we return to work and school from Thanksgiving and turn toward the holiday season, the field of civic education has much to celebrate, including:
  Mobilizing our 255+ member coalition behind the bipartisan, federal Civics Secures Democracy Act and making a profound case for this generational investment in K–12 civic education; and
  Producing policy wins — strengthening civic learning requirements, mandating middle and high school civics courses, incentivizing experiential civic learning, and providing necessary public resources to support policy implementation — in 14 states and counting this biennium through our State Policy Task Force.
This work continues through the finish line of the 117th Congress and begins anew in January in Washington, DC, and state capitals across the country.
Last month, we shared results from a national survey of likely voters demonstrating strong, bipartisan support for strengthening civic education and devoting more public resources to its proliferation. Now, additional analysis of the data set from PACE’s (Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement) Civic Language Perceptions Project has been released, including the impact of taking a civics or American government class in high school.
We must ensure that all students, regardless of demography or geography, have access to a high-quality civic education, because its benefits are profound. According to the PACE project, those taking a civics course had a more positive perception of democracy (+13%) and a number of related terms, including bridge building (+14%), citizen (+10%), civility (+26%), common ground (+11%), and liberty (+13%). Moreover, civics courses correlate with respondents being more likely to identify a range of activities that contribute to a functioning democracy and greater news attentiveness across a range of media.
These collective findings further underline the importance of prioritizing civics at the local, state, and national levels now in order to sustain and strengthen our constitutional democracy. When we adopt stronger K–12 civic education policies and invest in their implementation at the classroom, school, and district levels, we rebuild trust in institutions and one another, foster informed patriotism and civility, and equip our youngest members of society to build a more perfect union together.
Inside this newsletter:
  State Grant RFP Announcement
  Research Roundup
  State Spotlight
  State Op-eds
  See You at NCSS!
  New Partners
State Grant RFP Announcement
We are pleased to announce the third annual round of regrants to support state civic learning coalitions. This year, the CivXNow Coalition will be regranting more than $250,000 to support the work of state coalitions in the development of meaningful, bipartisan civic learning policy and practice improvements consistent with the recommendations outlined in the CivXNow State Policy Menu.
We believe that work at the state level needs to be driven by state actors — as exemplified by successes in states like Massachusetts and Indiana — and that a national organization’s best role is to facilitate and support local advocates driving the policy solutions that best represent their states.
Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 3. Visit our website for more information or to apply!
Research Roundup
Civic education researchers Anna Saavedra, Meira Levinson, and Morgan Polikoff analyzed the results of the Understanding America Study of 3,751 adults conducted this summer by the University of Southern California (USC) Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research and USC Rossier School of Education from the perspective of teaching controversial issues in K–12 classrooms.
Survey respondents want age-appropriate curricular choices and, like in the national survey of likely voters released last month in partnership with Cygnal, indicate broad support for fostering students’ critical thinking skills and teaching controversial issues to high school students, with a premium placed on viewpoint diversity.
State Spotlight
In his recent blog, “Might adolescents be our guide to a revitalized democracy?”, CivXNow State Policy Task Force Member Lowell W. Libby writes about the Third Thought Initiatives for Civic Engagement in Maine:
“By humanizing each other in this way, these leaders of tomorrow were able to tap into the expansive wisdom inherent in their diverse viewpoints. In dialogue, they evolved their perspectives, deepened their collective understanding of the topic at hand, and developed creative solutions to the complex problems with which they had been grappling. As adolescents who are naturally attracted to novelty and still forming their identities, they took to the enterprise as if it were of great importance, which, of course in a democracy and in life, it is.
Isn’t that how democracy is supposed to work?...
As the nation’s current leaders, we need to explicitly teach our young people how to access their “third thoughts.” If we don’t, whether or not they have learned how a bill becomes a law or can recite the Constitution and all of its amendments by heart will not really matter. The next generation of leaders would be as polarized and paralyzed as their parents…
If we do teach our youth how to reach their third thoughts, not only will they be better prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges, but we may also learn something of great importance from them that we can use today." Read full blog post here.
State Op-eds
As we near year-end and the end of the current Congress, people are continuing to make their voices heard across the nation in support of the Civics Secures Democracy (CSD) Act. Following are a sampling of op-eds that have run over the past month:
  James F. O’Connor, president of the Ohio Council for the Social Studies, wrote about CSD for the Cincinnati Enquirer.
  State Rep. Jim Murphy (R-MO) advocated for CSD in this piece distributed across the state.
  Johns Hopkins’ Ashley Berner and iCivics’ Christina Ross wrote about why supporting CSD also advances literacy for The 74 Million.
We invite you to add your voice to the conversation! If you’re interested in writing an op-ed, please email Jacob Berkman.
See You at NCSS!
Join the iCivics Policy Team in Philadelphia on Thursday, December 1, at 1:00 p.m. ET for our pre-conference session at the National Council for the Social Studies’ (NCSS) annual conference: Doing Civics for Civics: Social Studies Teachers on the Frontline Advancing Stronger Civic Education.
Social studies teachers are at the heart of sustaining and strengthening our constitutional democracy as they prepare our students to be informed and engaged participants in our self-governing society. During this half-day workshop we’ll explore the key role educators can play in advancing state and federal policies that strengthen K–12 civic education. Participants will have time to network and learn from one another, engaging in activities including breakout sessions, live polls, and compelling exchanges. Food will be provided, and attendees are encouraged to bring a mobile device to participate in some of the planned activities. Please register through the online conference schedule. We hope to see you there!
New Partners
The CivXNow Coalition continues to grow, now standing at more than 255 member organizations! The latest additions include:
  King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center
  Legislative Semester
  Sphere Education Initiatives
  Student Reporting Labs (SRL)
  Wisconsin Civic Learning Coalition
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 and the Einhorn Collaborative.
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