Higher education must be reformed to reform civics education. America’s colleges and education schools produce the civics teachers for America’s schools—and these institutions of higher education have been taken over by a radical establishment determined to replace proper civics education with pedagogies such as Critical Race Theory and action civics, which euphemize radical political activism in the classroom. Furthermore, the radical establishment has abridged First Amendment freedoms and due process on campus, as a way to end intellectual diversity—pluralism—and to suppress all dissent from their orthodoxy.
We must restore the infrastructure of liberty in higher education as a prerequisite to strengthening civics and history instruction in higher education. All these reforms, both to restore liberty and to strength civics and history instruction, must account for the determined unwillingness of the radical establishment to enforce any reform education. Civics reformers must provide means to enforce reform laws. Unenforced reform laws will remain dead letters.
We have produced a Model Higher Education Code to cover the entire range of necessary higher education reform. We have based this Model Higher Education Code as much as possible on existing state laws, which we first gathered in our State Statutes webpage.
The first six model bills re-establish the educational mission of the public universities and accountability procedures to ensure they keep to that mission. A first bill commits every component of the public university system to the free and unpoliticized pursuit of truth (Mission Statement Act). One bill re-asserts state control over accrediting organizations (Accreditation Autonomy Act) and another resolution declares the intention of state policymakers to found their own higher education accrediting organization (Accreditation Autonomy Resolution). Two more bills require transparency of college curriculum (Syllabus Transparency Act) and college finances (College Finances Act)—and also give state policymakers a line-item veto on university budgets (College Finances Act). A final bill will give the state legislature and the governor the power to veto proposed higher education gateway requirements at public universities, including admissions requirements, transfer requirements, general education requirements, competencies, learning objectives, and student learning outcomes (Higher Education Gateway Requirements Act).
The next six model bills guarantee a wide range of freedoms in public universities. These bills guarantee First Amendment freedoms (Campus Freedoms Act) and due process (Campus Due Process Act), as well as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of ideology (Campus Intellectual Diversity Act) or identity-group membership (Universities Nondiscrimination Act). Another model bill protects freedoms of speech and religion by requiring public universities to classify faculty, staff, and students by biological sex rather than by subjective and arbitrary “gender” (Human Nature Act). A final bill ensures compliance with these laws by establishing an Ombudman (Ombudsman Act).
The final five model bills establish a framework for proper university instruction in America’s ideals and institutions. One bill creates an autonomous School at the flagship institution of the state public university system, independent of the radical education establishment, to teach proper courses on Western and American history and government (School of Intellectual Freedom Act). Another bill prohibits discriminatory ideologies and requires transparency in early college classes (College Credit Act). Another bill establishes general education requirements in Western and American Heritage, and allows policymakers to ensure they are taught well by integrating them with a core transfer curriculum and a dual credit system of college-level classes taught in high schools (Core Curriculum Act). Another bill adds an American History and Government general education requirement (American History Act). A final bill integrates Western and American Heritage requirements with teacher licensure requirements (Heritage Certificates Act).
Among these model bills, the most important are the Ombudsman Act and the School of Intellectual Freedom Act. These provide the means to enforce most of the other model bills.
Mission Statement Act
The Mission Statement Act commits every component of the public university system to the free and unpoliticized pursuit of truth.
Accreditation Autonomy Act
The Accreditation Autonomy Act authorizes state policymakers to instruct public universities how to vote in accrediting organizations.
Accreditation Autonomy Resolution
The Accreditation Autonomy Resolution states the intention of state policymakers to found their own higher education accrediting organization, and to withdraw their public university system from the current regional accreditor, which imposes high costs, onerous bureaucracies, and social justice indoctrination.
Syllabus Transparency Act
The Syllabus Transparency Act requires public universities to post the syllabus of every undergraduate course on the university website seven days before classes start.
College Finances Act
The College Finances Act requires budget transparency, gives state policymakers a line-item veto on university budgets, requires universities to share responsibility for defaulted student loans, dedicates university expenditure to full-time faculty instruction, limits tuition and student enrollment from foreign sources, limits special admissions categories to state residents, prohibits sanctuary campuses, and requires transparency about foreign gifts and contracts.
Higher Education Gateway Requirements Act
The Higher Education Gateway Requirements Act gives the state legislature and the governor the power to veto proposed higher education gateway requirements at public universities, including admissions requirements, transfer requirements, general education requirements, competencies, learning objectives, and student learning outcomes.
Campus Freedoms Act
The Campus Freedoms Act requires public universities to guarantee a wide range of First Amendment freedoms, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom for student organizations, and freedom from intimidation.
Human Nature Act
The Human Nature Act requires public universities to classify faculty, staff, and students by biological sex rather than by subjective and arbitrary “gender.”
Campus Due Process Act
The Campus Due Process Act requires public universities to guarantee a wide range of due process procedures and reforms Title IX offices by requiring Title IX Responsible Employees to possess substantial experience in criminal defense and in the courtroom.
Campus Intellectual Diversity Act
The Campus Intellectual Diversity Act mandates institutional neutrality, prohibits political discrimination, protects intellectual diversity for student organizations and invited speakers, establishes transparent speaker fees, and prohibits the politicized pedagogy of service-learning.
Universities Nondiscrimination Act
The Universities Nondiscrimination Act prohibits universities from discriminating by race, sex, or other group identity, prohibits discriminatory concepts in administrative trainings, requires them to publicize detailed admissions statistics, and prohibits segregation policies.
The Ombudsman Act establishes an Ombudsman at each public university, tasked with ensuring compliance with state laws, and given powers to require cooperation and publicize violations.
School of Intellectual Freedom Act
The School of Intellectual Freedom Act creates an autonomous School of Intellectual Freedom (SIF) at the flagship institution of the state public university system.
College Credit Act
The College Credit Act prohibits discriminatory ideologies and requires transparency in early college classes.
Core Curriculum Act
The Core Curriculum Act establishes general education requirements in Western and American Heritage, and removes politicized course requirements by linking standard general education requirements, a core transfer curriculum, a dual enrollment system, and a dual credit system.
American History Act
The American History Act adds an American History and Government general education requirement to public universities.
Heritage Certificates Act
The Heritage Certificates Act requires public universities to develop a Western Heritage Certificate Program and an American Heritage Certificate Program, and integrates the two Certificates into Education bachelor’s degree requirements and teacher licensure requirements.
The National Association of Scholars, in consultation with other supporters and friends of the Civics Alliance, drafted these model bills to translate into legislative language the principles in the Civics Alliance’s Civics Curriculum Statement & Open Letter. Just as these bills have been drafted with the expectation that different states will modify them as they see fit, they also have been drafted with the expectation that not every supporter of the Civics Alliance will endorse these bills or every part of them. Individual Civics Alliance signatories and supporters should not be assumed to have endorsed these bills, unless they say so explicitly.