A model General Education Act will be launched next week. We’ve updated American Birthright to include more religious history. Wisconsin’s education bureaucracy is at work with more documents to radicalize civics education. And Mysterious Work is being done for the good guys. All this and more in the latest Resolute 

Model General Education Act—Coming Soon!

The National Association of Scholars (NAS), the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, and the Ethics & Public Policy Center (EPPC) will publish the new model General Education Act (GEA) on November 16. The GEA reforms and replaces the failed system of cafeteria-style distribution requirements geared to faculty research specialties, rather than to the true requisites of liberal education. The Act’s authors—Stanley Kurtz of EPPC, David Randall of NAS, and Jenna Robinson of the Martin Center—will discuss why the GEA is necessary, what it aims to achieve, and why it is a practical means to achieve its goal.

Sign up to watch the launch now! And read the model legislation when it comes out—which we will be mentioning prominently in Resolute! This will be bold higher education reform model legislation, and we’re pushing hard for it to get traction with policymakers and the public. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

American Birthright: More Religious History

We’ve made a small update to American Birthright, to add more religious history to our Grade 9 Development of Western Civilization (Items # 24, 42, 62; pp. 91, 96, 101) and our Grade 11 United States History (Items # 50, 66, 81; pp. 133, 138, 143). The three Grade 9 items add coverage of European religion in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries; the three Grade 11 items add coverage of American religion from 1865 to 1914, 1914 to 1945, and 1945 to the present.

What do the changes look like? Like this:

50. Describe important aspects of American religion between 1865 and 1914. (H) 

      1. Social Gospel 
      2. Holiness movement (Keswickianism, Azusa Street Revival, Pentecostalism) 
      3. Foreign missions 
      4. Increasing role of Catholicism (James Gibbons) 
      5. Increasing role of Judaism (Solomon Schechter) 

It is sobering to realize that this revision was necessary. We did, after all, state in the Introduction to American Birthright that religion was one of the central themes of human history. We worked diligently to include large amount of coverage of religion. Even so, just because we broadly followed the default narrative of European and American religion, dedicated coverage of European religion stopped with the 17th century Wars of Religion and dedicated coverage of American religion stopped with the Second Great Awakening and associated reform movements. It took us a while to realize—oh, wait, we missed something really large and important.

We have always said that the silent erasures from history are as damaging as the overt skewing of history to serve modern politics. When we realize that our own work was distorted by these silent erasures, even when we were trying consciously to fight against them—we learn humility about our own work, but we realize more than ever how necessary it is. We seek to revive the full memory of the past for our children, keenly aware that we too have forgotten, and forgotten too much.

Wisconsin Education Bureaucracy At Work

Wisconsin’s Education Department has published a Suggested Scope and Sequence for Wisconsin K-12 Civics Education. These are not standards, but yet another of the host of bureaucratic documents working to radicalize public education. We would welcome a critique of this document by a Wisconsin member of the Civics Alliance! It’s worth public critique, but Civics Alliance central is putting out other fires just now … education reformers should know that there are no ends of bureaucratic documents out there to further worsen public education, and that we all need to work together to let the public know just what the state education bureaucracies are doing!

Confidential Work

Lo, a certain amount is being done, with an eye to 2024. State legislative sessions are winding up—and we are working to make 2024 an effective year. We say all this to tantalize—and to encourage! Good work is being done, and you will hear more details in a bit.

State Social Studies Standards: What’s Coming Up

  • Alaska: Alaska’s Department of Education contracted with the American Institutes for Research to provide draft social studies standards. These draft standards are scheduled to be submitted to the State Board of Education and posted for public comment in March of 2024.
  • West Virginia: Social studies standards will be reviewed through January 2024, and presented to the State Board of Education in April 2024.

If you have news we don’t please write in and say! But as far as we can tell, that is the state of play for the present moment.

Civics Alliance Now Has Ten State Affiliates 

The Civics Alliance is building a network of state affiliates—groups dedicated to removing action civics in their states, whom we will list on our website. Our newest state affiliate is Nebraska, run by Dennis Applegarth. Welcome, Dennis and Nebraska! We now have ten affiliates, in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas. If you would like to form such an organization, or suggest an existing organization, please get in touch with David Randall (randall@nas.org).

Monthly American Birthright Zoom Meeting

The Civics Alliance will have its monthly Zoom session devoted to social studies standards reform on Monday, November 27, at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Please email randall@nas.org if you would like to join these monthly Zoom meetings.

Social Studies Standards Revision Schedule 

2024/Current: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky (partial), Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

2025: Kentucky, Nebraska, Texas

2026: Colorado, Maryland, North Dakota, South Carolina

2027: Hawaii, Kansas

2029: Louisiana

2030: Minnesota

2031: Illinois

No Revision Currently Scheduled: California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington

Please email David Randall (randall@nas.org) if you are interested in further information about your state’s social studies revision process, and what you can do to participate.

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

Public Action 

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

David Randall is Executive Director of the Civics Alliance and Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars.

Photo by Simon Fairhurst on Unsplash