The National Association of Scholars is pleased to release a toolkit for citizens concerned about strengthening traditional civics education and defending the civics curriculum from being taken over by “New Civics,” “action civics,” or any similar radical initiative. This toolkit informs American citizens about the principles and the programs of the Civics Alliance’s Open Letter and Curriculum Statement.
What is the Civics Alliance and why is it needed?
The Civics Alliance, which has been formed to educate citizens about the strengths of traditional civics and the deleterious effects of action civics, will unite education reformers, policymakers, and every citizen of the United States who wants to preserve 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, the functions of government at all levels, how our governing institutions work, and the spirit of liberty and tolerance that should animate our private interactions with our fellow citizens. Such civics education should teach students to take pride in what they share as Americans—an exceptional heritage of freedom, a republic that has succeeded in making liberty a fundamental principle of our government, and the joyful accomplishments of their common national culture.
By the time students leave high school, they should comprehend the rule of law, the Bill of Rights, elections, elected office, checks and balances, trial by jury, grand juries, civil rights, military service, and many other points in the traditional American civics curriculum. College undergraduates, and especially graduates of education schools, should also learn how these civic fundamentals emerged from Western Civilization, including through developments in Western political theory and American history.
This conception of civics education should not be controversial. The Civics Alliance is necessary because American civics education is under sustained assault by radical activists. Their New Civics uses the pedagogy of service-learning to teach action civics, also known by names such as civic engagement, civic learning, community engagement, global civics, and project-based civics. The New Civics threatens to replace traditional civics education with Neo-Marxist “social justice” propaganda, vocational training for left-wing activism, and techniques adapted from Alinsky-style community organizing for use in the classroom.
NAS Director of Research David Randall will host a Zoom conference call to discuss the Civics Alliance and this Toolkit on Friday, March 26, from 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Click here to RSVP.
What can be done?
Citizens can learn about three areas of concern to the Civics Alliance.
Federal engagement: Citizens can immediately contact their federal Senators and Members of Congress to express their opinion on the Civics Learning Act of 2021 and the Civics Secures Democracy Act, two federal bills which will channel enormous amounts of money to support action civics. The weblinks above connect to two articles by Stanley Kurtz, which summarize the likely effects of these bills.
State engagement: Citizens can immediately organize to express their opinion in each state of The Partisanship Out of Civics Act (POCA). POCA not only will disable much action civics on the state level but also will prevent state bureaucracies from taking federal money that supports action civics—a prohibition of great practical import, should either the Civics Learning Act of 2021 or the Civics Secures Democracy Act become law.
Gather information: Action civics advocates are working to pass bills that fund, require, or otherwise advance action civics in states throughout the union, and we simply do not know what all these efforts are. Citizens should search the list of proposed bills (via means such as LegiScan) to see which bills are supporting action civics. (Keyword searches for terms such as history, history education, civics, and civics education will probably be helpful.) Send that information to David Randall ([email protected]), and NAS will assemble it into a public database, working to publicize these bills so as to rally opposition to them.
Join the Civics Alliance
Image: JESHOOTS.com, Public Domain