Last month, a group of senators introduced a revised version of the Civics Secures Democracy Act. Readers of Resolute will know that the bill’s thin bipartisan support gives cover for its covert ideological agenda. In practice, the bill will dole out billions of dollars of civics and history grants through the Department of Education, a department which last year said it would prioritize grants akin to the 1619 Project and the work of Ibram X. Kendi. In other words, this bill is bad news. The good news is that an increasing number of lawmakers and commentators have come out in opposition to it.
Civics Secures Democracy?
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a proven opponent of “Action Civics,” recently blasted the newly reintroduced bill, arguing that it attempts to “buy off states with $6 billion if they sacrifice American History for Critical Race Theory and Biden’s other political whims of the day.” DeSantis is perhaps the most high-profile elected official to publicly oppose the bill, and we can expect more politicians to follow his lead.
Amusingly, the website Politifact quickly shot back, deeming DeSantis’s statements “false” in an editorial disguised as fact checking. As Stanley Kurtz puts it, “The arrow of PolitiFact’s famous ‘Truth-O-Meter’ is looking mighty wide of the mark right now. DeSantis, in contrast, is dead-on.”
More recently, Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also condemned the bill, highlighting the way it constitutes a blank check for the Department of Education.
The bill threatens to severely undermine our children’s education by granting billions of dollars to the Biden Administration’s Department of Education, whose stated goal is to push its woke agenda into classrooms and the minds of our children.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of political commentators are taking notice. Last week, the Association of Mature American Citizens published “Five Reasons Why Republicans Should Abandon the Left’s Fake Civics Bill,” noting:
Despite these mounting concerns, the three Republicans who have backed the bill have remained steadfast in their support for it. The question may thus now be which, if any, Republicans in the Senate will stand up to oppose it. Should none do so and this bill pass before the midterms, it would likely prove a devastating blow to both the integrity of America’s public education system and the millions of parents who have sacrificed so much to take back control of their children’s education.
The bill’s supporters surely feel the heat. After one commentator tweeted a criticism of the bill, Senator Cornyn, one of the bill’s few Republican supporters, sent a terse reply: “A lie.”
The fight has perhaps only begun, but one thing is clear: the Civics Secures Democracy Act serves as a test for any leader who has voiced concerns over America’s increasingly ideological and racialized education. Here’s their chance to act on their stated principles.
In Case You Missed It: Educating for Citizenship Webinar
Last week, the Civics Alliance hosted a webinar on our recently-released Educating for Citizenship case studies. Check out the video.
Civics Alliance State Affiliates
The Civics Alliance would like to build up a network of state affiliates—groups dedicated to removing action civics in their state, whom we would list on our website. If you would like to form such an organization, or suggest an existing organization, please get in touch with David Randall (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
John Sailer is a Research Associate at the National Association of Scholars and serves as Keeping the Republic Project Lead.