New Milestones for the Civics Alliance

Marina Ziemnick

CounterCurrent: Week of 10/16

The first two months of the Fall 2022 semester have been jam-packed with major higher ed news. From the announcement of Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan to the uncovering of even deeper foreign infiltration of American labs to the proliferation of blatantly discriminatory hiring practices on many campuses, higher ed reformers have had more than enough to keep them occupied. The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has been closely following all of these developments, and I have no doubt that there will only be more to come throughout the rest of the year.

But that’s not all that’s kept us busy lately. In addition to our work to reform higher education, NAS in recent years has expanded its focus to include crucial aspects of K–12 education. The worlds of K–12 and higher education are deeply intertwined: the ideologies born in the ivory tower soon make their way into children’s classrooms, often ushered in by education school graduates who are all too eager to impart their “wisdom” to their impressionable young students. After graduating high school, these students enter college fully primed to embrace the dogma of radical college administrators and professors without a second thought. We believe that to ignore the connection between K–12 and higher education is to abandon the prospect of improving either.

Much of NAS’s work in this arena is accomplished through the Civics Alliance, a coalition of education reformers, policymakers, and citizens that NAS has convened to promote civics education in our public K–12 schools. The Civics Alliance’s biggest project to date has been the creation of American Birthright, a set of model K–12 social studies standards that state education departments can use to ensure the students in their state learn about their birthright of liberty.

Last week, the Civics Alliance reached a major milestone in the American Birthright project when the Colorado State Board of Education formally considered a motion to adopt civics standards based on American Birthright. Although the motion was one vote short of passing, the serious consideration of American Birthright by a state education board is a momentous occasion. As NAS wrote in a statement on the topic, “Colorado’s board members have paved the way for American Birthright to be considered equally seriously in states around the nation—and to be adopted.”

This accomplishment comes only four months after the release of American Birthright—but we haven’t been resting on our laurels since then. The very same day that the Colorado State Board of Education met to discuss American Birthright, NAS released a set of model education licensure reforms designed to counteract the politicization of teacher training and licensure. Standards such as American Birthright will go a long way in improving the education in our public schools—but it is ultimately the teachers themselves who hold the power to shape the hearts and minds of America’s children. In the words of one of the eight cosponsors to the reform package, the model education licensure reforms “​​make it possible for a new generation of liberty-minded teachers to enter the classroom.”

These reforms are only a small part of what the Civics Alliance has been working toward in the year and a half since its launch. We are greatly encouraged by the successes seen thus far—both in Colorado’s consideration of American Birthright and in the widespread support the model education licensure reform package received from other reform organizations.

Our K–12 schools are a vital battleground in the fight for higher education. To ignore the thirteen years of education that students receive before ever stepping foot on a college campus is to give up the fight before it has even begun. No matter what inanities America’s colleges and universities throw at us, we will not let K–12 education be forgotten.

Until next week.

P. S. The Leadership Institute’s Campus Reform launched its Higher Education Fellows program in the summer of 2022 to elevate the voices of professors and college administrators concerned about academia’s leftward shift. Campus Reform provides fellows with compensation and a platform to speak out and share their concerns and suggestions about the future of American higher education. Current faculty and administrators from all disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply for the fellowship by contacting Editor in Chief Zachary Marschall.

CounterCurrent is the National Association of Scholars’ weekly newsletter, written by Communications Associate Marina Ziemnick. To subscribe, update your email preferences here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

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