Labor Day is coming up!—and with it a busy fall of education reform. A lot of folks have been on vacation in August—including yours truly—but there is news to report, whether of Florida education reform, of free speech declarations, or of work to be done in Texas. So, read this issue of Resolute for the latest news in education reform …
Florida Education Reform Firing On All Cylinders
Florida continues to pioneer education reform. The Florida Department of Education has stood firm against the College Board’s intransigent radicalism, and now the College Board has removed AP Psychology, on top of AP African American Studies, from Florida’s public K-12 schools—this time the College Board clung to gender ideology, as before it clung to critical race theory. The New College of Florida Board of Trustees, meanwhile, has voted to abolish NCF’s activist pseudo-discipline of gender studies.
Readers who want to know what might be next on the agenda for Florida education reform should look at Anna K. Miller and Scott Yenor’s Florida’s Blueprint for K-12 Education (Idaho Freedom Foundation and Claremont Institute), which provides policy suggestions for further reforms of Florida’s K-12 schools, above all to remove DEI ideology from their administrative structure. (Miller and Yenor recommend that Florida “Revise state social studies standards and require all school district[s] to teach the Hillsdale 1776 curriculum.” We’d prefer that Florida use the Civics Alliance’s American Birthright standards, but that’s friendly rivalry—Hillsdale’s 1776 Curriculum would be excellent too.)
Florida continues to be a model for effective education reform. In most states, education reform is just getting started. Education reformers who are working on A and B should continue to look at Florida, to see how it manages C, D, and E.
Education Reform Around the Nation
Education reform continues to advance around the country.
- Arizona: The Great Hearts charter schools are now starting private classical Christian schools, Great Hearts Christos (GHC). The New York Times mentions GHC as part of a somewhat skeptical look at Arizona education reform.
- Arkansas: Arkansas joins Florida in challenging the College Board: “Arkansas Warns School Districts Not to Offer A.P. African American Studies.”
- Colorado: The Garfield Re-2 School Board continues discussion over whether to adopt American Birthright. Garfield Re-2 would be the second Colorado school district to adopt American Birthright, after Woodland Park.
- Texas: Texas has passed a law that allows volunteer chaplains into the schools. Other states have passed similar laws; Released Time Religious Education’s website includes a map of state laws.
- Texas: Teacher Pedagogy and ELAR and Math Educator Standards Advisory Committee Applications. If you live in Texas and want to improve the Texas Education Agency’s product, consider applying to serve on these committees.
Civics Alliance readers should take heart: education reform advances, even during the slow days of summer!
Free Speech Statements in Universities
An increasing number of higher education organizations—comprising alumni, professors, or even university presidents—are beginning to make statements in favor of free speech. Frankly, some of these statements are more pious hope than effective policy, but even publishing the statements is a good beginning. The statements include:
- Bipartisan Policy Center, Campus Free Expression: A New Roadmap
- Cornell Free Speech Alliance, Lifting The Fog: Restoring Academic Freedom & Free Expression At Cornell University
- Institute for Citizens and Scholars, Campus Call for Free Expression
- James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton Principles for a Campus Culture of Free Inquiry
The Civics Alliance welcomes these statements, which may be harbingers of academic reform—and continues to urge state policymakers to enforce free speech on public campuses. These statements will not work unless state policymakers provide legislative teeth.
The Radical Assault Continues
We cannot be complacent. Radical advocates continue to control the commanding heights of our educational bureaucracies, and they continue to impose yet new policies.
- Max Eden writes about the advance of “Trauma-Deformed Pedagogy.”
- The National Council for the Social Studies is pushing to integrate LGBTQ issues into elementary school curriculum throughout the country.
- Nevada is imposing more DEI on Social Worker Continuing Education Requirements.
If it ain’t one thing, it’s another … Civics Alliance readers should know that the destruction of American education continues and grows yet more radical.
The Civics Alliance expects a 500-word essay from you on the first day of school … these articles are all worth reading, to get a sense of the broader education reform landscape.
- Dennis Saffran, “Standing in the Schoolhouse Door”: Saffran (optimistically) predicts that universities’ defiance of SFFA v. Harvard will hasten the broader overturn of affirmative action.
- Lee Jussim and Cory Clark, “The Journal of Open Inquiry in the Behavioral Sciences”: A description of the new journal, which seeks (among other things) to end the political stranglehold on academic publication.
- Robert Maranto, Wilfred Reilly, and Patrick Wolf, “Academia as a Status Game”: Maranto et al. give a good case study of just how politicized academic publication and citation has become.
- Adam Kissel and Timothy Rosenberger, The Politicization of Higher Education Accreditation: Kissel and Rosenberger make the case for why policymakers need to reform the politicized accreditation cartel.
- Wight Martindale, American History: A HomeSchool Guide: From the Beginning to 1876: A useful resource!
- Education Savings Accounts: The Civics Alliance doesn’t focus on school choice, but it’s useful to know about the movement, which is broadly compatible with civics education reform. Education Savings Accounts are among the more effective means of achieving school choice, and it would be useful for Civics Alliance readers to have a comprehensive list of states with Education Savings Accounts.
And finally, Civics Alliance readers might want to read an essay from the opposition—Pranav Jani’s “GOP Planned to Destroy Public Education in Ohio. We Defeated Them — for Now.” Jani is a self-aggrandizing blowhard who is too optimistic about his own successes, but he provides a good sketch of how radical advocates work to affect higher education policy, and a number of his tactical tips are worth keeping in mind for our own education reform efforts.
Civics Alliance, New Model Legislation
The Civics Alliance has published two new model bills. The Born-Open Documents Act requires school districts and universities to use “born-open documents”—public records that are translated into a publicly accessible electronic format from the moment of their creation. Academic Standards Adoption Procedures lists principles that should guide the state-level reform of academic standards adoption procedures.
2026 Civics Curriculum
The Civics Alliance’s Missouri state affiliate, The Educated Citizen Project (ECP), has begun the first stage of its 2026 Curriculum (draft title). ECP will build out from the American Birthright civics standards to provide a curriculum map and a full series of lesson plans, available free of charge for the public. The 2026 Civics Curriculum (draft title also) will provide a model for further initiatives to create curriculum maps and lesson plans for each of the individual grade standards in American Birthright. Standards and lesson plans will work together: lesson plans will encourage states and school districts to adopt American Birthright, and American Birthright standards will encourage teachers to adopt these lesson plans. The ECP initiative deserves enthusiastic applause from all social studies reformers.
More immediately, the ECP initiative welcomes support. It needs 5–10 curriculum designers, who should have at least five years of experience teaching high school social studies, including government/civics classes. For the moment, since the ECP initiative has just begun, it is unfunded, so these would have to be volunteers for now. The ECP initiative therefore would also welcome funding, above all to provide honoraria for curriculum designers! Please email David Randall and/or Mary Byrne if you have suggestions about either curriculum designers or funders.
Providing standards and lesson plans is still only the beginning of our campaign. We must craft textbooks, professional development, and more. But the pieces are falling into place, one by one.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Monthly American Birthright Zoom Meeting
The Civics Alliance will have its monthly Zoom session devoted to social studies standards reform on Tuesday, September 5, at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Please email email@example.com if you would like to join these monthly Zoom meetings.
Social Studies Standards Revision Schedule
2023/Current: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky (partial), Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming
2024: Alabama, Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wisconsin
2025: Kentucky, Nebraska, 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: North Carolina (2021)
Please email David Randall (firstname.lastname@example.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 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.
Photo by Upstateherd – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0