BIPARTISAN CIVICS SECURES DEMOCRACY ACT REINTRODUCED IN SENATE, PROVIDES HISTORIC INVESTMENT IN CIVIC EDUCATION
First Introduced by Senators Coons and Cornyn, updated bill’s four new cosponsors reflect agreement across the country and the political spectrum on the need for stronger civic education
WASHINGTON, DC [June 14, 2022]—A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators today re-introduced the landmark Civics Secures Democracy Act, which would authorize an historic investment to support K–12 civic education and American history. The reintroduction is the result of strong support by members of both parties over a months-long process to ensure that the bill affords the opportunity for each and every K–12 student in this country to have access to the kind of civic education needed to become informed stewards of U.S. constitutional democracy.
The Civics Secures Democracy Act is the first bipartisan initiative to support states and local school districts in offering the civic education needed to equip youth in the United States with the civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions to become informed and engaged members of society. This comprehensive piece of legislation responds to a crisis in civic education that has seen the subject neglected over the past 50 years. It would provide a $1 billion annual investment in civic education at the local level, specifically in students, teachers, schools, and districts, as well as an investment in research and data and diversifying the teacher pool.
The bill dramatically increases federal support for civics and American history and is an exercise in federalism in and of itself. With 85 percent of funds directed to states to in turn be passed down to districts, all curricular decisions under the Civics Secures Democracy Act would remain matters of state and local control.The updated bill clarifies and limits the role that the federal government would play in allocating funding and is deficit neutral.
“As President Lincoln said, ours is a government of the People, by the People, and for the People, but we can’t govern ourselves if we don’t have knowledge of our foundational principles or our history,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). “This bill would help our schools inspire the next generation of public servants and teach all young Texans the value of freedom, and I’m glad to work with Sen. Coons on this bipartisan legislation.”
First introduced in both the Senate and the House in 2020 by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Senate and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Tom Cole (R-OK), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in the House of Representatives, the Civics Secures Democracy Act now has four new cosponsors in the Senate—two Republicans, one Democrat, and one independent.
“I have long believed that equipping students with robust understandings of their government and history is a critical step toward building a stronger, more resilient America,” said Sen. Coons. “I am particularly heartened that the spirit of this legislation is reflected in the diverse backgrounds and ideologies of the co-sponsors of this bill, and I thank my colleagues for their work to move this effort forward. By making historic investments in the history and civics education of our children, we will help ensure that the next generation of Americans have the tools they need to be good neighbors and citizens.”
In addition to federal funding to states and localities, the Civics Secures Democracy Act includes resources to institutions of higher education to support research and professional development programs for civics and American history teachers, as well as for qualified nonprofit organizations to expand access to evidence-based curricula. The bill also calls for updating and expanding the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for civics and U.S. history, as well as supports for fellowships to strengthen the nation’s history and civics teaching corps.
The bill is supported by the CivXNow Coalition, a group of more than 215 organizations from across the viewpoint spectrum that advocates for bipartisan federal and state legislation that advances civic education in order to sustain and strengthen U.S. constitutional democracy.
“The bipartisan support for civic education that this bill represents is an incredible feat, and we are grateful to the cosponsors for reflecting the agreement of their constituents throughout the country that what is needed at this time is more high-quality civic education,” said Louise Dubé, executive director of iCivics, which leads the CivXNow Coalition. “We look forward to the passage of this historic piece of legislation and the reinvestment in the civic mission of schools in order to sustain and strengthen our constitutional democracy.”
List of Original Cosponsors:
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
Sen. Angus King (I-ME)
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
To arrange interviews with the co-sponsors and CivXNow Coalition representatives, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646-326-6553.
CivXNow, a project of iCivics, is a coalition of more than 215 partner organizations from diverse viewpoints working to elevate civic education and engagement as a national priority in order to sustain and strengthen U.S. constitutional democracy. 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.