We need your help!
On June 13, 2022, Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) reintroduced legislation to expand access to civic education with a $1 billion investment across K-12 and higher education. The Civics Secures Democracy Act (S 4384) will expand educational programming in history and civics, with funding available for state education agencies, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education and research. In addition to Senators Coons and Cornyn, the legislation is led by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
The Civil Secures Democracy Act helps support educational programs in civics and history by:
- Creating a Civics Secures Democracy Fund supported in the first instance using COVID relief funds for programs that have since expired, providing $1 billion annually for civics and history initiatives. These initiatives are broken out as:
- $585 million for state education agencies, which would be awarded by formula and passed on to districts to support civics and history education programs, especially with a lens to closing civics achievement gaps;
- $200 million for nonprofit organizations, which would be awarded competitively and used to develop and provide access to evidence-based civics and history curricula and programs;
- $150 million for institutions of higher education, which would be awarded competitively, used to support civics and history educator preparation and ongoing development;
- $50 million for researchers, which would be awarded competitively and used to assess and evaluate civics and history education programs and identify best instructional practices; and
- $15 million for a new Prince Hall Civics Fellowship program, which would diversify the civics and history education workforce by recognizing outstanding educators from underrepresented communities and providing a supplemental stipend in exchange for a five year teaching commitment.
- Incorporating the USA Civics Act and CIVICS Act, both bipartisan, updating existing K–12 and higher education civics grant programs.
- Encouraging the biennial administration of the civics and history NAEP in grades 4, 8, and 12.
- Strengthening and making the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation and James Madison Fellowship Program sustainable by recapitalizing their respective trusts and providing them broader investment authorities.
Constitutional Rights Foundation is proud to be part of a broad coalition of social studies organizations that enthusiastically supports this bill. Civics Secures Democracy would help states close key gaps in students’ history and civics educations. Only nine states and the District of Columbia require a full year of civics or government studies, and 10 states have no requirement at all. At the same time, American trust in public institutions is near all-time lows.
Please contact your U.S. representative and senators and request they co-sponsor the act. You can use this list to find your representatives' and senators' staffers who work on education. If you are not sure of it, click here to confirm your representative's name. Feel free to use the sample email and/or phone script below. Phone calls are highly effective and only take a minute or two of your time.
Dear Representative/Senator ________,
As an [educator/parent/community member] constituent from [city], I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor the bipartisan Civics Secures Democracy Act (HR 1814) to strengthen civic education and the teaching of American history in K-12 schools.
The $1 billion in funding this bill would provide is critical because it provides states and school districts with the resources they need to teach these vital subjects and prepare students to be informed, effective, and engaged participants in our constitutional democracy. [Insert your individual reason for supporting the bill].
The Dear Colleague letter from Rep.s DeLauro, Cole, and Blumenauer lays out additional reasons this legislation is so important. I urge you to read it and then contact their offices.
To sign on as a co-sponsor of the Civics Secures Democracy Act (HR 1814)/(S 4384), please contact:
- In the House, Harper White in Rep. DeLauro's Office at Harper.White@mail.house.gov or Shane Hand in Rep. Cole's Office at Shane.Hand@mail.house.gov
- In the Senate, contact Corey Linehan in Senator Coons' Office at Corey_Linehan@coons.senate.gov or Alaura Ervin in Sen. Cornyn's Office at Alaura_Ervin@cornyn.senate.gov.
Thank you very much for your consideration on this issue.
Sample phone script*
My name is [your name] and I'm a [parent/educator/community member] constituent from[city]. I'm calling to encourage [representative/senator] to co-sponsor the bipartisan Civics Secures Democracy Act (HR 1814) reintroduced in both the House and Senate by House Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Tom Cole, Earl Blumenauer, and by Senators Chris Coons, John Cornyn, Angus King, Jim Inhofe, Mark Kelly, and Bill Cassidy. This bill is focused on providing resources to states and districts for quality American history and civics education.
I believe in prioritizing the study of American history and civics across the United States because [Insert your individual reason for supporting the bill].
To sign on as a co-sponsor of the Civics Secures Democracy Act (HR 1814), please contact [dependent on if you're calling a senator or representative]:
- [In the House] Harper White in Rep. DeLauro's Office or Shane Hand in Rep. Cole's Office.
- [In the Senate] Corey Linehan in Senator Coons' Office or Alaura Ervin in Sen. Cornyn's Office.
Thank you for taking the time to hear my request.
*Leave a voice message if nobody answers.