“The Civics Alliance standards in my opinion have two very solid advantages over even the best state standards, such as those set by Florida (after the latest revision) and Indiana. First, they devote far more attention to the deep past than most of the state standards or would-be national standards, such as the slick, interactive set of mix-n-match topics assembled by Educating for American Democracy. … This brings me to what I consider the second great merit of the Civics Alliance’s new standards: the restoration of Western civilization to its former place in the social studies curriculum. … If I were a parent, I would be overjoyed if my children were able to master the curriculum outlined in American Birthright.“James Hankins, Professor of History, Harvard
“The Right Standards for American Schools,” Law and Liberty, July 20, 2022
“The orientation of the Civics Alliance, the coalition sponsoring American Birthright, is conservative, but a progressive critic would be hard put to find its program reactionary. Hayek figures in American Birthright, as does Milton Friedman. But so, too, do Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. Washington and Thomas Jefferson are part of the program, as are Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X.
Far from being narrow, American Birthright would expose students to a range of human possibility. It emphasizes primary texts that young people can evaluate for themselves: the Epic of Gilgamesh, Exodus, the First Sermon of Buddha, the Analects of Confucius, the Hadith of Gabriel, the Communist Manifesto, the Port Huron Statement, and Roe v. Wade ruling figure alongside The Wealth of Nationsand the Federalist Papers.”Michael Knox Beran, Contributing Editor, City Journal
“Beyond Woke—a Return to Lincoln?,” City Journal, July 4, 2022
“I have read thousands of pages of what are called curriculum standards since the days of Common Core, and reading this set was a refreshing surprise. Its learning goals and plan for achieving those goals are clear and comprehensible to any literate person, which is in fact one aim of the enterprise.
Usually what pass for curriculum “standards” is essentially subliterate — so full of meaning-lite education jargon as to be almost incomprehensible. Go read your own state’s so-called curriculum standards to see this yourself. Jargon is one way the education bureaucracy resists accountability to parents and voters. If principals, parents, and the like can’t understand what teachers are supposed to do, they can’t hold them accountable for it.
‘American Birthright,’ on the other hand, is readable, clear, and informative. Any parent could use the document to plan out his or her own course of after-school or homeschool study, as could any teacher or school district. And if a parent or school did so, they would graduate students far more civically minded and responsible than almost all American schools do today.
That’s why parents need to approach their schools, legislatures, and state boards of education and ask that start using ‘American Birthright’ as their guide to U.S. history and government curricula immediately. It is also a useful document to use to measure the quality of civics and other instruction in a given school district.”Joy Pullman, Executive Editor, The Federalist
“Here’s What Your Child’s School Should Be Teaching About American History And Government,” The Federalist, June 27, 2002
So many efforts to correct dishonest education are aimed at downstream effects: a textbook here, a new course unit there. What American Birthright gets so right is the targeting of state standards, the source of muddied and polluted waters in the case of history and civics education. A victory there will restore the status and proper significance of high school history courses, which are a key bulwark of both liberty and virtue.
Jeremy Tate, Chief Executive Officer, Classic Learning Test
In recent years, the National Association of Scholars has provided remarkable leadership in the areas of U.S. history and civics in schools and higher education alike. In addition to evaluating the academic quality of state standards and civics offerings, they’ve now crafted a model social studies standard that states, schools, teachers, and parents could use, along with other resources, as a counterbalance to the politicized fads running rampant in classrooms across the country.
Jamie Gass, Director of the Center for School Reform, Pioneer Institute
The new American Birthright model K-12 standard does an excellent job of capturing the best of proven, traditional social studies education. It also adds important updates. American students need solid groundings in all the social sciences. This standard will leave them well prepared to understand how the real world operates, and give them essential information and skills to solve real problems. Coupled with the right values, it will certainly help make our world a better place.
Allen M. Stern, Past President, Minnesota Council for the Social Studies; Economics Curriculum Expert for the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Department of Education, and Breck School; Founder and CEO AMAX Consulting, LLC
I wholeheartedly recommend American Birthright as the standard to guide any elementary, middle or high school social studies curriculum. I am very impressed with its thorough, fair, and relevant treatment of history, geography, economics, and civics. It is a breath of fresh air in light of the current focus on race, class, gender and complex concepts that make up so much of our contemporary social studies standards.
I have reviewed many social studies standards and curriculums and am always disappointed about how little focus there seems to be on significant events like the Battle of Lexington or the Pullman Strike. Current social studies standards focus on a labyrinth of vaguely worded standards and concepts that are confusing and seem to emphasize social activism, and thus cause a lot of anxiety and misunderstanding for teachers and students. I especially like that American Birthright has chosen to focus on the story of liberty and how that has shaped who we are as a people. Many students seem to have a grasp that America has a racist past, but few understand that we are the greatest expression of freedom in world history. American Birthright sets the right tone for telling the whole story of our past.
As a veteran social studies teacher of thirty-four years, I have seen first-hand a definite decline in what our students know about the past. This concerns me greatly. Before students can discuss and debate a concept, they need to know the facts. American Birthright is a standard that we need today more than ever. It is easy to read and understand and focuses on the facts and stories of history rather than political agendas or vague standards that no one can comprehend. I was delighted by the amazing amount of detail and thought that went into what was included in the final version. This is a dream come true for teachers who love to impart knowledge about our past and who also want to inspire the next generation to keep the story of liberty alive.
American Birthright will be celebrated by Americans of all walks of life. It tells the truth of our past—which we can learn from as well as celebrate.
Douglas Norlander, Social Studies Teacher, Tartan High School, Minnesota
As I read through American Birthright, I had two primary thoughts. One was regret that in my own school experience I hadn’t learned even one-twentieth of what this excellent guide outlines. The second was that I would pay a lot for my own children to be taught this curriculum by gifted teachers. As a volunteer history, moral philosophy and economics teacher for a homeschool co-op over the past year, and as a close observer of homeschooling challenges for over a decade, I wish I had had something like American Birthright on hand as a guide. Apart from its comprehensive attention to detail, the guide is even-handed, its core devotion being to the cause of learning rather than ideological formation.
After nearly twenty years of teaching at the university level, I have a strong sense of how little first-year college students know about history, geography, government and economics. In a typical class of forty American-born students, about 10 will not know who was president during the Civil War. Thirty will not know which president offered a New Deal in response to the Great Depression. Perhaps two will be able to name the president during the First World War. A large majority will not know how many years a one-term U.S. Senator serves. Very few, if any, will be able to explain how the Electoral College works. The result is that college level classes are required to try to make up for what should have been accomplished by the tenth grade.
Any student who has the privilege of learning this curriculum at the hands of devoted teachers and supportive administrators will not only be well-prepared for university-level work, but will possess more knowledge than many university graduates. If we want university-level work to comprise high-order thinking, then a strong foundation needs to be laid beforehand. American Birthright provides schools, teachers and parents with a path to a strong foundation.
Preston Jones, helped start a prep school in Dallas, has taught at the university level for twenty years and, in the 2021-2022 academic year, was a volunteer teacher in a homeschool cooperative in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.