The Second Act of Civics Secures Democracy

Marina Ziemnick

CounterCurrent: Week of 4/3

In May 2021, just weeks after the National Association of Scholars launched the Civics Alliance, we issued an open letter that outlined our opposition to the Civics Secures Democracy Act, a bill that would enable the Biden administration to impose its progressive ideological agenda in classrooms across America. We addressed the letter to Senator John Cornyn and Representative Tom Cole, Republican congressmen from Texas and Oklahoma, respectively, whose support allowed the authors of the bill to claim that their attempt to smuggle Critical Race Theory and action civics into public schools was a “bipartisan initiative.”

If you follow the work of the Civics Alliance or subscribe to its newsletter, Resolute, this may sound like old news to you. But I don’t bring the Civics Secures Democracy Act up again just to rehash past debates. Thanks to a renewed push from lobbyists, the bill has once again taken center stage in the battle over American civics education.

Since early efforts to pass the bill stalled, progressive lobbyists have crafted a revised version of the Civics Secures Democracy Act that seeks to mask its ideological agenda in the hopes of gaining further support for the initiative. In response, NAS’s Civics Alliance issued a second open letter against the revised bill last week—only this time, we’re calling on all U.S. senators and representatives to preserve American civics education by opposing the bill. 

The open letter, which was published at the Civics Alliance’s new website, explains how the Civics Secures Democracy Act advances its ideological agenda and why advocates for a robust civics education ought to oppose the revised bill:

Over the last year, voters and their representatives in state after state have delivered a resounding rebuke of Critical Race Theory in education. Their message remains clear: schools must be free of indoctrination and activism. Yet, the Civics Secures Democracy Act would supercharge politicized education around the country, at precisely the moment when the public has rejected it.

…Far from supporting the teaching of traditional American civics, the Civics Secures Democracy Act will do the opposite. Under the pretense of supporting American civic education, this bill would fund education research and teaching initiatives with an unmistakable ideological agenda. The Biden administration made that clear when it issued priorities for American civics and history grants, guidelines which approvingly referenced The 1619 Project and the work of Ibram X. Kendi. The Biden administration history and civics grant guidelines amount to a call for Critical Race Theory in education, and the Civics Secures Democracy Act would fund it.

If passed, the Civics Secures Democracy Act would appropriate six billion dollars to implement a form of indoctrination designed to weaponize American civics education. We must not be so naive as to allow a few strategic tweaks in the wording of the bill to dampen our opposition to its authors’ agenda. 

I encourage you to read our open letter and, if you agree with what we have to say, to sign it. Spread the news to your friends and colleagues as well. We want our message to Congress to come across loud and clear: we see the Civics Secures Democracy Act for what it is, and we will not let it go unchallenged. 

Until next week. 

P.S. This week, we’re turning the spotlight to NAS Affiliate Head Richard Lowery, who has been fighting back against the top-down imposition of radical racial and gender ideology at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Dr. Lowery is an Associate Professor of Finance at UT-Austin and is a member of the university’s Faculty Council. Recently, Dr. Lowery was one of only five faculty members to oppose a resolution promoting the teaching of race and gender theory on campus, which was endorsed by the University Faculty Gender Equity Council, the Council for LGBTQ+ Access, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Council for Racial and Ethnic Equity and Diversity. Dr. Lowery discussed his opposition to the resolution in an interview with Fox News, which we have shared on the NAS website.

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

Image: Alejandro Barba, Public Domain

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