Christmas and the New Year are coming up! We look back on what civics reformers accomplished during 2023, and look forward to what we will accomplish in 2024. All this and more in the latest Resolute 

What We Accomplished in 2023

We—all civics reformers, not just the Civics Alliance—did handsomely in 2023. By year’s end, at least twenty-one states will have passed laws or enacted gubernatorial executive orders to restrict the inculcation of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 education, while another seven states have passed laws to restrict “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) inculcation in higher education. Bills to restrict either CRT or DEI have been introduced in a large majority of state legislatures. Civics reformers started almost at zero in the beginning of 2021. This is a handsome beginning to our long-term campaign!

The story is scarcely one of uninterrupted victories. At year’s end, Oklahoma Governor J. Kevin Stitt issued an Executive Order to remove DEI bureaucracies and programs from state agencies, especially public universities. On the other hand, Ohio SB 83, which would have substantially restricted DEI in Ohio’s public universities and which the Civics Alliance strongly championed, did not quite become law—it passed the Senate, passed out of committee in the House, but did not receive a floor vote in the House. There are complicated political reasons why the House failed to act on this bill, but at the end of the day that law did not pass in Ohio.

Yet Ohio also saw five autonomous Centers created in Ohio’s public universities, whose mission statements drew upon the Civics Alliance’s model legislation. SB 83, moreover, will serve as a very serious wake-up call to Ohio’s universities: while we would prefer the legislation to be passed, we may expect some lesser reform from Ohio’s universities, for whom SB 83’s considerable success in the legislative process registers the mood of the legislature, and of Ohio’s citizenry. Then too, we have learned considerably about the process of providing testimony for state legislatures during Ohio’s 2023 legislative session. When we return to the legislative fray in 2024, we will have learned considerably from our partial successes around the nation.

These our partial successes in one year—and we intend to work for ten years, for twenty years, as long as is necessary to redeem our K-12 schools and our colleges and universities. I have not yet begun to fight, said John Paul Jones, and neither have we.

December Notes

  • College Board Revisions: The latest version of the College Board’s AP African American Studies is out, and it is—Max Eden says it is perhaps barely legal in a state that has banned CRT, but not at all good. The best we generally can expect from the Woke advocates is bare legality.
  • Naughty List: Add the Coalition for Empowered Education, which promotes Ethnic Studies.
  • Worth A Look: Alexander William Salter and Andrew T. Young’s The Medieval Constitution of Liberty: Political Foundations of Liberalism in the West. It’s worth remembering how deep the roots of our liberty extend into our European past. Medieval Constitution does a good job of summarizing the medieval contribution to our liberty.

Testimony

Would you like to be on a list of people prepared to give testimony in favor of a state bill to reform civics education? If so, please get in touch with me: randall@nas.org. We need people ready to testify in all 50 states—ideally, with some personal tie to the education system—but testimony from any citizen would be good.

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 Tuesday, January 2, 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 Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

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