Diversity Statements, State Standards, and More Harry Trumans

John D. Sailer

Resolute is the Civics Alliance’s newsletter, informing you about the most urgent issues in civics education. Above all, Resolute will provide information about federal and state legislation that seeks to impose action civics, or to preserve traditional civics.

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From cutting-edge reports to model legislation, the Civics Alliance continues to produce work that demonstrates the need for civics education reform in America.

Educating more Harry Trumans

Civics Alliance executive director David Randall has been actively making the case for American Birthright, the Civics Alliance’s new model social studies standards. Readers of Resolute will be familiar with the case for these improved standards. Now, the work at hand is to spread the word.

In the North State Journal, Randall makes the case that North Carolina’s social studies standards leave much to be desired—but that American Birthright can help improve education in the state.

North Carolina’s Social Studies Standards could be much better. The Standards defy public accountability, because the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI), which developed the standards and supplemental materials, distributed them in 67 separate files on its website—a tangle of standards, unpacking documents, crosswalks, strand maps, and glossaries.

Moreover:

The Standards themselves are a tangle of essential standards, clarifying objectives, alignments, and unpackings. The DPI’s bureaucrats make it difficult for anyone to understand just what is in the standards, whether they are teachers, policymakers, or parents.

The solution?

North Carolina’s DPI should use the Civics Alliance’s “American Birthright: The Civic Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards” as a guide to revise its social studies standards and provide its students a proper civics education. American Birthright, which has been endorsed by Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson and State Representative Larry Strickland, draws on the best existing social studies standards, including the 2003 Massachusetts History and Social Science Framework and Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Social Studies (2021).

Randall reiterates this argument for the state of Arizona. In the Arizona Daily Independent, he writes, “Every American student should be educated to be another Harry Truman—a high-school graduate who, without ever graduating from college, has a solid grasp of history and is capable of serving as an officer, a judge, a senator, and president.” Thus, “if Arizona’s State Board of Education draws on American Birthright to revise its social studies standards, it will provide Arizona’s students that education.”

Report: The University of Tennessee and the Anatomy of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Takeover

In 2020, each school and administrative unit at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, submitted a diversity action plan, outlining dozens of policies designed to advance “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) throughout the university. The National Association of Scholars acquired the approved versions of these plans, which are the topic of our most recent report, The Anatomy of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Takeover: A Case Study of the University of Tennessee. We find that these plans leave no corner of the university untouched, mandating DEI-based curriculum revisions, extensive ideologically-inflected training sessions, and political litmus tests in the form of diversity statements for hiring, promotion, and tenure.

New Model Legislation

The Civics Alliance has released two new model bills: the College Credit Act and the School Board Agenda Act. These are a few entries in our long list of model K–12 and higher education code. Anyone interested in civics reform should check out the new model legislation—and our long list of previously crafted model legislation.

Call for New Civics Alliance State Affiliates

The Civics Alliance is building a network of state affiliates—groups dedicated to removing action civics in their state, whom we will list on our website. If you would like to form such an organization, or suggest an existing organization, please get in touch with David Randall ([email protected]).

Continuing Priorities: Federal Legislation

At the federal level, the Civics Secures Democracy Act threatens to impose action civics nationwide.

The Civics Bill Tracker

Civics Alliance members may now use the Civics Bill Tracker to track all proposed federal and state legislation related to civics.

Public Action

We encourage Civics Alliance members to inform the public and policymakers about the stakes and consequences of action civics bills.


John Sailer is a Research Fellow at the National Association of Scholars and serves as Keeping the Republic Project Lead.

Image:  Library of Congress, Public Domain

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