An Appeal to Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Tom Cole

National Association of Scholars

Editor's Note: The following is an open letter to Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) regarding their support for the Civics Secures Democracy Act. The Civics Secures Democracy Act, despite claims to the contrary, is an effort to smuggle progressive action civics into American K-12 classrooms under the guise of bipartisanship. 

Signatories sign as individuals. Organizational affiliations and positions are listed for identification purposes only.

To view our database of proposed American civics education legislation, click here. To view the National Association of Scholars' own model civics bills, click here. To join the Civics Alliance, click here.

Sign the Appeal

Dear Senator Cornyn and Representative Cole,

We urge you to withdraw your support for the Civics Secures Democracy Act. Recent actions by the Biden Administration will prevent this legislation from supporting impartial civics education and will instead direct the funds it authorizes to subsidize ideologically partisan political activism. We believe you can best achieve your original aims to support impartial civics education by rescinding your support for this legislation.

We sympathize with your original desire to support civics education. America would indeed benefit from properly designed civics education, which teaches students to take pride in what they share as Americans—for example, an exceptional heritage of freedom, a republic that has made liberty a fundamental principle of our government, and the joyful accomplishments of their common national culture. We also support civics education that teaches the founding principles and documents of the United States, the key events of American history, the structure of our self-governing federal republic, and the spirit of liberty and tolerance that should animate our private interactions with our fellow citizens.

We also understand why you would have taken to be innocuous the precise language of several subsections of the Civics Secures Democracy Act, which, for example, prioritize funding for “media literacy,” “evidence-based practices,” and to “improve knowledge and engagement ... [among] traditionally underserved” students. Education professionals often use phrases such as these as code for support for Action Civics, which provides vocational training for ideologically partisan protest and lobbying, and for Critical Race Theory, which teaches students that America is a “systemically racist” country.

Yet the Civics Secures Democracy Act will forward Action Civics and Critical Race Theory. It will provide vast federal funding for this radical program and it will impose enormous political pressure on the states to do the same. Just as the Education Department’s Race to the Top Fund gave the cash-strapped states an irresistible incentive to adopt Common Core, and thereby imposed de facto federal control on state standards and curriculum, so the Civics Secures Democracy Act will give the federal government de facto power to impose Action Civics and Critical Race Theory on the states.

The Civics Secures Democracy Act would have produced this result, even absent the Biden Administration’s latest initiative.1 Yet the Biden Education Department’s Proposed Rule “Proposed Priorities-American History and Civics Education,” makes explicit this consequence.2 This rule, which will apply to all American History and Civics Education programs, will require programs funding applicants to satisfy a checklist of ideologically partisan priorities, including that they “Take into account systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history.” The Proposed Rule approvingly cites The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which has been widely criticized by thoughtful scholars as a polemic riddled with historical errors.3 The Biden administration’s proposed new rule also approvingly cites the so-called “antiracism” of Ibram X. Kendi, who writes that “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”4 Kendi explicitly advocates discrimination by race, and supports changes to our constitutional republic hostile to our most basic liberties.5 These citations provide more than sufficient proof of how the Biden Administration will use any funds devoted to American History and Civics Education: to fund programs aligned with the historically inaccurate polemic of the 1619 Project and the overtly illiberal so-called “antiracism” of Kendi.

The Proposed Rule does more than reveal administrative language. It reveals the mindset and the intentions of the Education Department administrators who will oversee the programs authorized by the Civics Secures Democracy Act. These administrators have revealed that they prefer partisan and illiberal political activism to authentic civic education. These preferences will continue even if they modify the language of the Proposed Rule. They will administer the Civics Secure Democracy Act’s proposed programs to transform civics education into a vessel to secure these troubling ends. In short, the language of this bill cannot be “fixed.” So long as the Biden administration administers these funds, the bill will impose ideological partisanship and activism on America’s schools.

Other concerns weigh against passing the Civics Secures Democracy Act. As the history of Common Core illustrates, federal intervention and control have damaged American education nationwide. The states, the localities, and civil society are better equipped to determine education policy than the federal government. These levels of government and society, not the federal government, are best equipped to determine how to improve civics education. In this regard, it should be noted that the Act’s revisions of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) also threaten to provide a backdoor route to imposing a de facto national curriculum in history and civics.

Even if we set aside these concerns, the Biden Administration’s Proposed Rule by itself transforms the expected result of the Civics Secures Democracy Act. The Proposed Rule confirms that the Act will not achieve what you originally desired, support for civics education that teaches students to take pride in and to preserve their republic and its exceptional heritage of freedom. It will instead replace genuine civics education with partisan training in political activism.

The Biden Administration’s new Proposed Rule more than warrants a decision on your part to withdraw your support for the Civics Secures Democracy Act.

We write as citizens concerned about the state of education in history and civics, and as members of the Civics Alliance convened by the National Association of Scholars. We invite other members of the Civics Alliance, and other interested citizens, to join this letter as signatories.

Initial Signatories

Mark Bauerlein, Professor Emeritus of English, Emory University

Brandon Dutcher, Senior Vice President, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Frank Gaffney, Founder and Executive Chairman, Center for Security Policy

John Hinderaker, President, Center of the American Experiment

Sheryl Kaufman, Congressional Communications Director, Former Congressman Jim Bridenstine

Katherine Kersten, Senior Policy Fellow, Center of the American Experiment

Roger Kimball, Editor and Publisher, The New Criterion  

Stanley Kurtz, Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Arthur Milikh, Executive Director, The Claremont Institute, Center for the American Way of Life

David Randall, Project Director, Civics Alliance

Jenna A. Robinson, President, James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Christopher Rufo, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Eunie Smith, President Emeritus, Eagle Forum

Ginni Thomas, President, Liberty Consulting

Ryan Williams, President, The Claremont Institute

Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars


Carolee Abbott

Carolee Adams, President, Eagle Forum of New Jersey

Judie Adey

Cindy Afferica

William Albee

Stacy Alberts

Sue Alexander

George Allison

Amanda Alman

Elena Ancarrow, Retired School District Administrator

Hugh Anderson, Archivist, Texas Tech University

Margaret Annett

Tom Antram

Diane Apuan, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Rosana Arebalo

Hal Arkes, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Ohio State University

Dave Armstrong

Gayn Armstrong

Joni Aspengren, Educator/Speech/Language Pathologist (Retired)

David Bains, Mechanical Engineer

Tammy Ballard, Educator, Kentucky School System

John Ballinger

John Bandel, Owner, Bandel's Painting Service

Joe Barden

Ed Barron, Senior Vice President of Engineering

Terry Baugher

Karen Baunsgard

Elizabeth Bayless

Lori Bear

Asbed Bedikian

Gary Behler, Former Substitute Teacher

Michael Bender, Clinical Professor of Medicine Emeritus, UCSF

Suzanne Bennett, Teacher, Bartow County Schools

Caroline Beno, Elementary Teacher, Visalia Unified School District

Kathy Bergevin

Jane Berkowitz

Anne Bermudez

Katharine Bertetto

Michael Best

Susan Birchem, Office Administrator

Kelly Bishop, Educator

Marc Bishop

Michael Boatner

Pat Bole

Louis Bonham

Michael Bonnette

Debbra Bordeaux

Carole Bouska, Special Education Teacher (Retired), Harrisburg High School

Walter Bowen, Business Systems Analyst

Gary Boyd

Philip Boyer

Mike Bradford, Pastor

Carmen Bramlage

Charles Branch

Mark Branyon, Customer Service, James Avery Craftsman, Inc

William Brenan

Norman Brock

Ann Brooks

Shelley Broome, Counselor

Carol Brown

Loren Brown

Alexandra Bruckner

Susan Brummer

Bruce Brunner

Staci Buck, President, Entegra Enterprises

Donna Buddemeier

Christine Buer

Terri Burke

George Burns

Danielle Bushnell

Kathy Butke

Katie Butler

Cathryn Butzow, ESL Instructor (Retired)

Bruce Byron

Donna Cagle

Judy Cagle, Teacher/Counselor

Kim Cain

Maria Cairns

Bruce Caldwell, Research Professor of Economics, Duke University

Jennifer Cali

Bea Cannon

Robert Carey

Diane Carlin

CJ Carlso

Pat Carter, Teacher (Retired)

Carol Carvajal

Danny Catalanotto

Melissa Cayette

Londa Chandler

Alexei Chemiakine, Scientist, Columbia University Medical Center

Tonda Childers, Therapist

Pamela Christian, Author/Podcaster, Pamela Christian Ministries LLC

Stephanie Christie

Barbara Chu, Engineer (Retired)

Catherine Clark

Cheryl Clark

Jessica Cline, Teacher, Irving Independent School District

Russell Cline

Karla Clow

Kathy Coats

David Cocos

Karen Cohen

Claudia Colvin

Dennis Conlan

Diane Connelly

Judith Cook, Teacher (Retired)

Joshua Coots, Teacher, Duneland School Corporation

Susan Corbett, Former Teacher

Bill Covel

Erin Covert

Eric Cox

Shawnna Cox

Sue Crain

Mary Crawford

Joseph Cristel

Elsie Crossmon

John Cull

Ginna Cumley

Norman Cummings

Ralph Dahlstrom, Assistant Professor (Retired), University of Oklahoma Medical School

Madison Dallas

Sherri Dalton, Co-Director, Missio Global Ministries

Lisa Damico

Wanda Daniel

Ben Daniels

Rachel Davis

Jan Davisson

Sheryl Dawson

Karol Delmar

Marian DelMarmol

Lynne DeLorenzo

Ed DeLucie, Former Village Trustee, Valley Stream

Jill Dennis, Teacher (Retired)

Susan Dennison, Teacher (Retired)

Wesley Denton, COO, Conservative Partnership Institute

Nichole Derouin, Vice President, Derouin Heritage Academy

Faith DeWaay

Lynn Dexter

Elaine Dietrich

Michael Dinnin

Melody Divine, President, PIER Institute

Robert Dixon, Retired Military Officer

Jeanne Dobbins

Wayne Dodd

Kelly Dodge

SW Domagala

Catharine Domenick

June Donaghy

Hubert Dorn

Linda Dorn

Frank Drake

John Drew, Sales Manager

John Droz, Physicist, Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions (AWED)

Toni Drugmand

Belkis Dubman

Susan DuBose, President, Republican Women of North Shelby County

Susan Ducett

Angela Dudley, Teacher (Retired)

Barbara Dunlap

Bruce Dunn

Kay Dunn, Precinct Chair, Ellis County Republican Party, Texas

Margot Duvall

Steve Early

Mike Echt

Tammie Edwards

Doris Ehlenfeldt

Ann Ellison

Stefanie Eldridge

Beverly Emerson

Luke Emison

Phillip Ernest

Jacquelyn Etchison

David Evans, Professor, Dallas College

Susan Evans

Zack Ezer

Shirley Fairley

Amie Falch

Brian Fanelli

Adrian Farr, Texas Homeschool Coalition

Deborah Farr, Texas Homeschool Coalition

Heather Farrand, Registered Nurse

Scott Farray

Brenda Fassnacht, School Bus Driver, Tippecanoe School Corporation

Jerry Felte

Linda Fenster

Rachele Figlan

Jeffery Finley

Larry Finn

Ellen FitzGerald

Kevin Fitzgerald, Associate Professor, Michigan State College of Human Medicine

Will Fitzhugh, Founder, The Concord Review

Steve Flaig

Pam Flanders

Richard Flanders

Kathleen Flannagan

Brenda Flannigan

John Flenniken, Ministry Staff (Retired)

John Fonte, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

John Foster, Retired Army Officer

Nancy Foster

Stephen Foster

Raymond Fox, President, Fox and Fox LLC

Kathlene Francis, Nurse

Robert Frederick, Attorney (Retired)

Terry French

Donna Frye

Dorothy Furagganan

Sheryl Gadbois

David Gardner, Purchasing Agent (Retired)

Janet Gardner, Nurse (Retired)

Randy Garlough

Brad Garrett

Carol Garrott

Charles Giammalva

Faithe Giaquinto, Office Administrator, Teacher, Realty World DeSoto Trail

Judith Gibbs, President/Editor, Bread Ministries

Fawn Gibson

Gene Giegerich

Wanda Giesecke

Jan Gillisse

Aaron Goetz

Richard Goldsborough

David Goldstein

David Goodman

Torey Goodson

John Gordon

Robbie Gore

Sherry Graf

Ruth Grant

Michael Greco

John Gretz

Gary Grimes, Engineer (Retired)

Alison Gromer

Virginia Gudermuth

Curtis Guhl, Engineer

Billie Hahn

Janet Halbert, College English Teacher (Retired)

Barbara Hale

Jean Hale, Teacher, Northshore Christian Academy

Mary Ellen Hale

Mary Hamilton

Daniel Hammond, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Wake Forest University

Warren Hansen

Sharon Hanson

Katherine Harding

Katherine Harms, Technical Consultant (Retired), Zion Lutheran Church

Robin Harrison, Owner, Design Solutions DFW

Stan Hartzler, Professor/Teacher (Retired)

Janet Hawkins

Roger Head

Jack Heald, Doctor

Helen Hebert

Linda Heifner

Sharon Helms-Dulin

Amy Henry

Suzanne Herster

Victor Hidalgo-Veras

Trisha Hicks

Roy Hight

Cora Hill, School Teacher (Retired)

Krista Hilley

Damon Hines, Police Officer

Janyce Hockenbaryy

Ellen Hoffman

Michael Hoke

Blanca Holland, Medical Admit Counselor (Retired)

Elizabeth Holmes

Carolyn Homan

Richard Homan, Turning Point USA

Paula Hoskins

Mary Houlihan

Nancy Huff, President, Teach the Children International

Karl Hutzelman

Deb Ibanez

Annie Isbelle, Teacher (Retired)

Brenda Jackson

Kenneth Jacobs

Frank Jaeckle, Former Teacher

Doug Jakubowski

David Jaissle

Shelly Jay

Louis Jeffrey

Maj Jenkins

Gaylin Jepsen

Barbara Johnson

Brenda Johnson

Erik Johnson

Monica Johnson

Robert Johnson

John Jones

Robert Jones

Sonya Jones

Steven Jones, Former Irving Independent School Board President

Velmer Jones

Claude Judd, Owner, Texas Insurance Exchange

Dave Kallas

Jane Kampsnider

Dennis Kaptain, Software Engineer

Roy Kaufmann

John Keen, Former School Board Member, RBHS Riverside Illinois

Sherry Keil

William Kellar, Professor (Retired), University of Houston

Diane Kelley

Muriel Kemp

Karen Kendrick

Marilyn Kent

Diane Kern

Deborah Keys, Vice Principal, AVHS

Michael Keys, Pastor

Dennis King, Attorney

Lynda King

Sharon King

Ed King

Kathleen Kinney

Adam Kissel, Senior Fellow, Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy

Kurt Klemm

Sandra Klimczak-Ohm

Janet Klumb

Darrin Kneute

Carol Knipper

Marilyn Knopp

Don Koonce, Storyteller, American Stories Inc

Steve Korson, Engineer

Robert Krapohl, Library Director and Adjunct Instructor, Lyon College

Barbara Krebs

William Kuechler, Professor Emeritus

Stacy Middleton

John Lacue

Ernie Lafferty

Kathleen LaFountain

Laurel La Framboise

Teresa Laing

Rodney LaJoie

Stacy Lambert

Marti Landman

Jerilyn Lange

Vickie Lanich, CEO, Export Compliance Connections, LLC

David Larimer

Andrea Leffew

Linda Leppi

Jon Le Sage

Judy Lester

Cindy Levenburg, Licensed Practical Nurse

Victoria Lewis

Tana Lievsay

Donna Lightcap

Mack Lindsey

Beth Lloyd, Law Enforcement Officer (Retired)

Janet Loizeaux

Jamie Loker

Isaac Long, District Operations Manager, Alpha Pack Militia

Jon Longerbone, Attorney (Retired)

Sheryl Longin, CEO, Diplomatch

Michael Looney, Retired Tax Lawyer/Accountant

Ellen Lopez

Kelly Loukides

Pauline Lovell

Mike Lowry, Owner, Lowry Properties, Inc.

Christine Luskin

Tresa Lykou

Elizabeth Lynch

Janet Mabry

Kelly Mactiernan

Joseph Madsen

Peggy Magers

Rose Maierle

Marie Martin

James Malone

Jean Mann

Shirley Mansfield

Joy Marion, Special Education Teacher, Vineland Public Schools

Ben Markley, Pastor, Lakeside Baptist Church

Diane Martin

Marie Martin, Environmental Specialist

Tom Martin

Mary Ann Martino

David Mash, Associate Director of Library Services, Instructor of Religion and Humanities, Lander University

Ronald D. Maszk Jr.

Kenneth Mateas

Rosemary Mathern

Jan Matsumoto

Mikaela Matthews

Stephen McCants

Shelly McGough

Carrie McKeehan, Teacher

Tammie McKenzie

David McNeil

Sharon McNutt

Kathleen McOsker

Carolyn Miller

Karen Miller

Madonna Miller, Registered Nurse

Rocky Miller

Elaine Milner

Teresa Minnick

Kevin Moore, Former Instructor, TCU

Linda Morris

Merle Morris, Attorney

Tim Morris

Barbara Morse, Teacher and Bible Translator (Retired)

Tim Morse

Margie Mortenson

Terry Mortenson

Diane Morton

David Moser

Cherie Mosher, Teacher (Retired)

Paul Mosher, System Analyst

Ann Moss

Bob Mowbray

Mary Lu Moyen

Bob Murphy, Engineer

Maria Murphy

Sheryl Myers

Nikki Naparst

Kimberlee Neel, Educational Administrator, Festus R-VI School District

Barbara Nelson, Attorney

Matthew Niemiera, President, Lonestar Rehabilitation

Robert Noble, Dorseyville Alliance Church

Karl Noell, Emeritus Clinical Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans

Linda Nolen

Kathleen Norris

Timothy O'Flaherty, School Teacher

Jeff O'Grady

Steve Olson, Adjunct Instructor, Aims Community College

Dawn Orand

Juan Ordonez

Paula Ourso, Teacher

Gary Owen

Loretta Paradise

Marlene Parker, Teacher (Retired)

Lynn Parks, Pastor, Eastwood Baptist Church

Nancy Parsons

Jeremy Pate

Brenda Peck

Adir Peretz

Ronald Perkins

James Perlstein, JKP LLC

Martin Pfister

Lois Phlegar, Teacher, JCA

Jason Poe, Financial Advisor, Raymond James Financial Services

Franklin Pohle

Kimberly Powell, Registered Nurse

Robert Powers

Laura Price

Michele Procko

Paul Quintero

Rachel R

Kelii Rain

Diane Ramey

Margo Rasmussen

Ken Rebar

Rudolph Redden

Elnora Redgrave

Bobbie Rench, Accountant (Retired)

Otmar Renken

Suzanne Rhea

Don Rhudy, Doctor of Psychology and Counseling, Incarnate Word Hospital System (Retired) and Private Practice

Craig Rhyne, President, Freedom Education Foundation, Inc.

Jeff Rice

Melanie Richards

Jacob Richardson

Peter Richardson, ELA Teacher

Ron Richardson

John Riggs

Merline Riggs

Lloyd Rigney

Sue Rikli, Teacher (Retired)

Doug Ripperger

Clare Risky

Bill Roach, Educator

Lori Robb

Reid Roberts

Steven Roberts

Dennis Rohrbaugh

Dan Ross

Guy Rounsaville

Tommy Rowe

Patricia Ruser

Gail Russ, Teacher (Retired)

Tricia Russell, VP, CM Architect

Wayne Russell, Principal, The Paladin Group

John S

Christian Salmon

Sue Sanford

Danna Sapp

Teri Sasseville

Dan Savage

Debra Scott

Melba See

Kathy Sengel

Susan Sexton

Tonya Scarbro, Teacher

Peggy Schmid, Former Public School Teacher, Former Assistant Dean, University of Southern California

Pam Shaker, Nurse

Debra Shay, Teacher (Retired)

Jeremiah Sheeder

LuAnn Sheeder

Jacquelyn Shepherd, Admin. Assistant, LSC

Marilyn Shinn

Sean Showalter

Judith Shults

Karen Siegemund, President, American Freedom Alliance

Mark Silbert

Joseph P. Skaff

Steve Skinner, Engineer

Melinda Smith, Music Teacher (Retired)

Zach Slade

Danny Slawson

Cory Smith

Judy Smith

Pat Spaziani

Diane Speights

Paul Stackpole

Whitney Stanbury

Sheila Steck, Teacher (Retired)

Susan Steen

Marleena Stein

William Stevens

James Stewart

Robert Stock

James Stojek

Cathy Stroud, Teacher (Retired)

Donald Sumners

Michaela Sweatt

James Sykes

Jo Anne Szczyglowski, Retired Teacher

Stephen Takacs, US Navy Retired

David Tambornino

Ellyn Tervo

Betty Thomas, Caregiver

Mi Thomas

Jeanette Thompson, Teacher (Retired)

Sue Thompson

Susan Thornton, Congregational Christian Minister, Chiltonville Congregational Church Plymouth MA

Belinda Timpke

Lewis Toland, English Professor Emeritus, NMMI

Nan Tompkins

Michael Trent

Ellen Turnamian

Valerie Turney

Sally Tyree-Brumley

Sandra Van Brunt

Michael VanOrsdale, Music Industry Executive (Retired)

Joy Van Schepen

James Varney

Teresa Vaughters

Robin Veldboom

Sandy Vickers

Donna Voivedich-Burrage

Gwen Vroman

Jesse Waddell

Scott Wagner

Wayne Wakefield, Museum Specialist

Janie Walker

Shannon Walker

Bonnie Wallace

Jonathan Ward

Spencer Warren

Barbara Warrington

Sylvia Wasson, Professor Emeritus, Santa Rosa Junior College

Ann Watson

Laura-Jean Watson

William Webb

Gail Wells

Priscilla West

Kenneth Whaley

Ryan Wheeler

Debra Whipple

Keith Whitaker, Chairman, National Association of Scholars

David White, Past Chairman, Kay County Republican Party, Oklahoma

Margaret White, Teacher (Retired)

Mark White

Susan Wielins

Jim Windham, Publisher, The Texas Pilgrim

Alan Wiggins

Carolyn Wiggins

Esmeralda Winchell

John Wilcox

Kathryn Wilcox

Mary Frances Williams, Independent Scholar

Patricia Williams

Terri Willeford, Teacher (Retired), NEISD San Antonio

Deborah Williams

Kellie Williams

Dean Williamson, Research Economist, Antitrust Division, US Department of Justice

Gray-Leigh Wilson

J.R. Wilson, Co-Founder, Truth in American Education

Mike Wilson, CEO, Cowboy Electrical Services Inc.

Jim Windham

Sue Winfree

Richard Woodcock

Karen Woods, Teacher (Retired)

Audrey Wren

Larry Wright

Margaret Wysocki

John Yocum, Pastor, Through the Next Gate

Joy Zagarella

Sam Zahran, English Instructor, Fayetteville Technical Community College, North Carolina

David Ziegler

Image: United States Senate, United States Congress, Public Domain

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