The holiday season is upon us, but the Civics Alliance is still firing on all cylinders. Before you sit down to your Thanksgiving feast, check out the latest news from the Civics Alliance below.
Excellent Draft Virginia Social Studies Standards
Virginia’s Board of Education (VBOE) has just released much improved draft social studies standards. In September, the Civics Alliance recommended substantial revisions to their previous draft. We are delighted that the VBOE had released a far better version—although we also have provided a comment that lists our suggestions for further improvement in detail. (We are also delighted that the Civics Alliance is getting publicity from the press coverage of the new Virginia standards!)
The announced schedule for the adoption of the draft Virginia social studies standards is as follows:
- November 28 – December 16, 2022 — Public engagement sessions
- January 9–13, 2023 — Public hearings
- January 2023 — Review of public comments and suggested edits
- February 2023 — Final review and adoption of the 2023 History & Social Science SOL
We urge Virginians to get in touch with the Virginia Department of Education to learn precisely when and where the public engagement sessions and public hearings will be so that they may testify in favor of the new draft social studies standards—and in support of the Civics Alliance’s suggested revisions to these standards.
Washington Policy Institute: Support for American Birthright
Liv Finne, Director of the Center for Education at the Washington Policy Institute, endorsed American Birthright in a recent policy note titled “Forming engaged citizens: How to strengthen civic knowledge, open-mindedness and democracy in Washington public schools”:
A meaningful civics standard is needed to provide Washington’s students with a full understanding of the founding of America, and of the historic story of the American people to “create a more perfect union.” A national model, “The American Birthright, the Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards,” provides such a model.
We are honored by this endorsement, and we urge readers, especially Washingtonians, to read Finne’s entire work—and get in touch with school district and state policymakers to inform them about the Washington Policy Institute’s excellent report.
Parent Power: A School Board Member Database
The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) has just launched Parent Power, a database that provides contact information for every school board member in the nation. Parent Power also includes a Model Policy section that draws extensively from model legislation jointly endorsed by AFPI and the National Association of Scholars, and originally drafted for the Civics Alliance. We are delighted about the Model Policy section—but the database is a remarkable new resource, which makes it possible to press for civics reform effectively in every school district of the nation. We strongly urge readers to make use of it, and to pass along the news of its existence to other concerned citizens.
Excellent New Critique of Minnesota’s Draft Social Studies Standards
The Center of the American Experiment has just published Wilfred McClay’s critique of Minnesota’s Draft Social Studies Standards: “National Expert: Minnesota’s Academic Standards Among the Nation’s Worst: Review of the 2021 Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies, Draft Three.” McClay’s critique expertly articulates the problems with Minnesota’s radical draft standards, which would make Minnesota’s social studies standards among the worst in the nation. We encourage readers to inspect McClay’s report—and also to consider how to draft similar reports in each state of the Union.
Civics Alliance State Affiliates
The Civics Alliance is building a network of state affiliates—groups dedicated to removing action civics in their state, whom we will list on our website. We now have eight affiliates, in Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, 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 (email@example.com).
Monthly American Birthright Zoom Meeting
The Civics Alliance will have its fourth monthly Zoom session devoted to social studies standards reform on Wednesday, December 14, at 12:30 pm Eastern Time. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join these monthly Zoom meetings.
Social Studies Standards Revision Schedule
2022/Current: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky (partial), Minnesota, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia.
2023: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, Wyoming
2024: Alabama, Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wisconsin
2025: Kentucky, Texas
2026: Colorado, Maryland, North Dakota, South Carolina
2027: Hawaii, Kansas
No Revision Currently Scheduled: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri (but could change), New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington
Waiting Confirmation: District of Columbia (current process), North Carolina (2021)
Please email David Randall (email@example.com) 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 members may now use the Civics Bill Tracker to track all proposed federal and state legislation related to civics.
We encourage Civics Alliance members 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.
Image: Martin Kraft, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons