April 2023
Honor Civics Teachers by Supporting Investments in Their Professional Development
As Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7–13) approaches, we salute civic educators from coast to coast for their daily diligence in developing students’ civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions. A prominent way to demonstrate our appreciation through state and federal policy is to highlight the importance of investing in educators’ professional development.
The CivXNow Coalition’s theory of change is premised on stronger state and federal K–12 civic education requirements and funding, which necessitate and enable civics teachers access to high-quality, ongoing professional development (PD) opportunities, ultimately translating into improved classroom instruction and students’ civic development.
Specifically, the CivXNow State Policy Menu recommends ongoing, comprehensive, and evidence-based teacher PD opportunities that strengthen civic content knowledge and pedagogical skills, provide exposure to a wide range of vetted curriculum and resources for classroom implementation, and create opportunities for infusing civic learning opportunities across academic content areas.
Unfortunately, teachers rarely rate their existing PD opportunities as “useful” and have little autonomy in selecting them. Given the dearth of state and federal funding for civics-centered teacher PD, current opportunities are often under-resourced and prohibitive for teachers to access in terms of time and money.
Thankfully, there are efforts across states to strengthen investments in civic-centered teacher PD (check out our state bill tracker, where we are monitoring nearly 120 bills in 39 states impacting K–12 civic education), and Congress is currently considering the Administration’s recommendation to more than triple the federal investment in civic education for Fiscal Year 2024. This proposed $73M would underwrite American History and Civics Academies and Civics National Activities.
American History and Civics Academies, in part, support workshops to strengthen teachers’ civic knowledge, and Civics Activities provide competitive grants to institutions of higher learning and education nonprofits that use evidence-based practices “to improv[e] teaching and learning about the history and principles of the Constitution of the United States” with particular emphasis on low-income and underserved students.
There’s no better way to honor civics teachers than to use the CivXNow “Take Action” tools to contact your Members of Congress and urge them to support this increased funding for K–12 civics. The congressional appropriations process is heating up, so your outreach will be most impactful in the next two weeks. Go to the “Take Action” page on our site, select an issue, and click on the “Take Action” button. Then, simply type in your home address, enter your full name and contact information, and send an automated email to your Senators and Representative.
Let’s show our appreciation for civics teachers by doing civics for civics by May 13. Ensure that all educators have access to high-quality, ongoing, civics-centered PD opportunities!
Yours in civics,
Shawn Healy
Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, iCivics
Inside this newsletter:
  CivXNow’s Newest Advisory Council Member
  Research Roundup
  April State Event Recaps
  New Members
CivXNow’s Newest Advisory Council Member
CivXNow is pleased to welcome Hans Zieger, President of the Jack Miller Center, to our Advisory Council. The Jack Miller Center is a nationwide network of scholars and teachers who are committed to advancing the core texts and ideas of the American political tradition.
In preparation for the 250th anniversary of American independence in 2026, Hans is leading the Center’s campaign to expand the pipeline of scholars who are dedicated to the teaching of America’s foundational principles and history, to seed and cultivate university campus centers for the study of the American political tradition, and to expand the teaching of core civic knowledge in America’s K–12 schools.
Research Roundup
We recently came across a 2014 Political Behavior article titled “Call Your Legislator” where Michigan State University professors D.E. Bergan and R.T. Cole explored the impact of constituent calls to members of the Michigan State Legislature.
Michigan Representatives and Senators were randomly subdivided into four groups, one that did not receive constituent calls on a 2011 anti-bullying bill, and three others that received varying volumes of calls. The calls themselves were decisive, making legislators 11–12% more likely to vote in favor of the legislation that ultimately passed 123–20 in a combined vote across the two chambers. However, the volume of calls did not yield a statistically significant difference. The authors suggest this final conclusion is not necessarily determinative, but given the infrequency of constituent contacts (only 11% of citizens report regularly doing so), the act itself is quite impactful.
April State Event Recaps: Indiana and Maryland
On April 13, the Indiana Bar Foundation hosted its inaugural Indiana Civics Summit, following passage of the landmark 2021 law establishing a state civics commission and requiring a stand-alone middle school civics course. Commission Chair and Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch provided the opening keynote.
A series of panel discussions followed, including one featuring former State Representative Tony Cook (R), who led the charge for the 2021 law that passed the Indiana General Assembly with near unanimity. Other panels addressed the national civics landscape, local educators’ perspectives on civics, and the legal community’s role in promoting civic education. CivXNow Coalition partner Business for America also made news in launching the Indiana Business Coalition for Civics featuring Indiana-based corporations including Cummins, Elanco (a subsidiary of Eli Lilly), and Salesforce.

On April 20, the Maryland Civic Education Coalition, the University of Maryland, and the Governor’s Office of Service and Volunteerism partnered to co-host the third annual Maryland Civic Education & Engagement Leadership Summit.
The online summit gathered more than 200 attendees for interactive sessions and discussions around the theme of “Strengthening Civics for All.” Over the course of the day, participants addressed what is working in the state as well as opportunity gaps and barriers to strengthening civic engagement through civic education, learning, and service learning. The summit was designed to connect students, classroom educators, district and state curriculum experts, nonprofit professionals providing in-school and after school programming, elected officials, and business leaders in the state.
New Members
The CivXNow Coalition continues to grow, now standing at more than 290 member organizations! The latest additions include:
  Essential Partners
  Middle Ground School Solutions
  PBS LearningMedia
  Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
  Thinking Nation
  Veterans for Political Innovation
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 CivXNow 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 and the Einhorn Collaborative.
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