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.