First significant increase in federal dollars for civic education comes after yearslong effort to pass the Civics Secures Democracy Act and opens the door for future federal funding of civics.
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. [December 22, 2022] – Congress today appropriated $23 million to improve civics and history education as part of the year-end omnibus bill, marking the first significant increase in federal dollars for civics in decades. This FY23 appropriation triples the federal investment in civics and history education.
The bill passed with bipartisan support and builds upon the existing $3M appropriation for American History and Civics Academies by appropriating $20M for a competitive grant program, “Civics National Activities” for eligible institutions using evidence-based practices “to improv[e] teaching and learning about the history and principles of the Constitution of the United States.”
Evidence-based practices include classroom instruction in civics, government, and history; community service tied to classroom instruction; simulations of democratic processes; student voice in school governance; and media literacy.
The inclusion of this funding in the omnibus bill comes after a massive bipartisan effort to pass the standalone Civics Secures Democracy Act, first introduced by Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Tom Cole (R-OK), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX).
“With this increase in funding for history and civic education, the country has made a significant down payment on the kind of civic education needed to sustain and strengthen our constitutional democracy,” said Louise Dubé, the executive director of iCivics, which founded the CivXNow coalition. “We are grateful for the relentless leadership of our congressional champions who have modeled the kind of civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions we are seeking to teach—from federalism to compromise and bipartisanship—even as they tirelessly worked to get much-needed support for civics and history education across the country.”
The CivXNow Coalition, which includes 260 member organizations from across the country and and viewpoint spectrum,, has led the charge for deepened investment in civic education, including the Civics Secures Democracy Act.
The increased federal funding comes as recent polling once again demonstrates strong support for civic education from parents and voters across the political spectrum. This fall, the firm Cygnal queried more than 3,000 likely voters, with an oversample of Republican primary voters and K–12 parents from both parties. It found that strong majorities of respondents from both parties support civic education and more funding for it.
“Civics education is in decline, as fewer Americans are informed of our democratic principles and institutions. To correct this disparity, I was proud to triple the investment in civics and history education in my 2023 government funding package over the 2022 level,” the Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said. “Moreover, the funding bill would direct the U.S. Department of Education to use all available resources to provide evidence-based competitive grants to eligible entities to strengthen civics education, based upon language included in my Civics Secures Democracy Act. These investments will help secure our democracy for generations to come by educating the American public now. Bridging our current division is critical, and I will continue to fight for investments that expand access to civics and history education.”
About the CivXNow Coalition
The CivXNow Coalition is a project of iCivics, and is made up of more than 260 organizational partners 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, the CivXNow Coalition 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.