All the work this cross-cutting CivXNow Coalition—standing at 275+ organizations and representing the nation’s diverse demography, geography, and political ideology—is doing to make civic education a nationwide priority is paying off!
Ours is a work of years and generations—it will not happen overnight, but we are making incredible progress. To this end, we are looking forward to celebrating this progress together during the first-ever national Civic Learning Week (more info below) even as we continue to build on our strong foundation and advocate for bipartisan policies at the national, state, and local levels that reimagine and deliver relevant, inclusive, and engaging K–12 civic learning, both in- and out-of-school.
There is power in featuring civic education not just at election time but at this critical juncture when folks are looking for solutions. We’ve written previously about broad support for civic education and the positive impact it has, but a new report from More in Common importantly identifies a “perception gap” with regard to those with differing political views when it comes to how civics and history should be taught. While rather extreme perceptions are only true for those occupying the far right and left ends of the political spectrum, these perceptions are manipulated by “conflict entrepreneurs” to fuel the culture wars and undermine a relative consensus on teaching a plural, yet shared national history. As the report so simply states, “We feel divided over how to teach history, in significant measure because we feel divided, period.”
More in Common’s recommendations at the conclusion of the report are essential to overcoming this perception gap and institutional distrust. Among them, we must assume greater complexity in our fellow citizens’ beliefs about a range of issues—our shared, yet plural history included. We must also make space for such discussions across difference, and use concrete language in framing civics and history education, accounting for local context that is essential given the premise of local control that governs K–12 education in the country.
These are just some of the reasons we’re so grateful for your partnership as we unite behind providing stronger K–12 civic education opportunities and building bipartisan consensus for policies like the federal Civics Secures Democracy Act and those recommended in the CivXNow State Policy Menu. This worthy pursuit of common ground in fostering the civic development of our future generations couldn’t be more important to the ongoing health and strength of our constitutional democracy.
Yours in civics,