Ohio dominates the news in today’s Resolute! Testimony, bills in the House and Senate, and lots of great work by Civics Alliance members. Read on …

Ohio Testimony: HB 103 (American Birthright)

The Civics Alliance gave solid testimony support to HB 103, which would establish a task force to revise Ohio K–12 social studies standards based upon the American Birthright model. Three individuals provided in-person testimony: David Randall (Civics Alliance), Jonathan Pidluzny (America First Policy Institute), and Adam Kissel (personally, but he is affiliated with the Heritage Foundation). Further written testimony was provided by the Common Sense Society, Marc Clauson (Cedarville University, Ohio), Linda Ireland (Teacher/Tutor, Ohio), Robert Maranto (University of Arkansas), Alex Nester (Parents Defending Education), Dave Peterson (Alabama), Craig Rhyne (Freedom Education Foundation), and Vicki Rich (President, Civics Alliance Ohio Affiliate).

The in-person testimony was solid in numbers, and solidly delivered—but the written testimony is a tribute to the hard work of Civics Alliance supporters. Thank you!—you provided wonderfully solid testimony when it was needed. The biggest news for this issue of Resolute is that Civics Alliance supporters have done good and necessary work that has set up HB 103 well for further legislative progress.

We have not guaranteed success for HB 103 this year—even in the most sympathetic states, legislative campaigns frequently take several years. But we are in a good position to give testimony and otherwise support a Senate version of HB 103, and to rally public opinion to encourage Governor DeWine to sign the bill if and when it passes both houses of the Ohio legislature. We are also in a good position to bring bills based on HB 103 to other states. Our success makes possible more work ahead.

A note: Brendan Gillis of the American Historical Association (AHA) gave interested party testimony to oppose HB 103. The AHA generally is increasingly opposed to K–12 civics education reform legislation. Civics Alliance supporters with doctorates in history therefore will be particularly useful to submit testimony going forward, to inform policymakers that the AHA does not represent all historians.

Again: thank you! This is a week for Civics Alliance supporters to be proud.

Ohio Testimony: HB 151 (DEI Restriction)

The Civics Alliance also gave testimony support to HB 151, the companion bill to SB 83. HB 151 and SB 83, partly inspired by different components of the Civics Alliance’s Model Higher Education Code, would implement a variety of reforms in Ohio higher education, above all to restrict the scope of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” We did not organize testimony for HB 151 as we did for HB 103, but we are glad to have been able to support the bill. We also will support this bill for the long haul—this year, and the next, until it is passed.

Ohio Senate Bill 117 (Independent Schools at Ohio Universities)

The Civics Alliance is delighted that Senators Jerry Cirino and Rob McColley have introduced legislation to establish independent schools at two Ohio public universities—the Ohio State University and the University of Toledo—free from the radical monoculture monopolizing higher education. The bill is a vital complement to HB 103: students educated in independent schools at these universities will be capable of teaching American Birthright to K–12 students. We will also be supporting this bill, which is part of a wonderful trifecta of proposed legislation emerging from Ohio.

NBC Hit Piece on Woodland Park School District and American Birthright

NBC has published a hit piece on the Woodland Park School District, with generous mention of American Birthright. We’re delighted with the publicity—and we sense that we must be over the target, since we’re getting flak. Please tell every school board member you know about American Birthright, and let them know that school districts can adopt the standards. We want a thousand school districts each using American Birthright as they see fit, each of them as free as Woodland Park to use it as they will.

Civics Alliance Twitter

David Randall now has a Twitter account, publicizing articles generally of interest to the Civics Alliance. We’re not yet at an Elon Musk level of followers, but we’re working on it. Follow us @DavidRandallNAS for regular updates.

Around the Nation

American Birthright Taskforce Act

The Civics Alliance has just published the American Birthright Taskforce Act, drafted by the National Association of Scholars. The Act provides model language so that state policymakers can create a social studies task force, appointed by the governor and the state legislature, to draft social studies standards based on American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards. State policymakers may use this Act to establish American Birthright directly, rather than work through (too-often heel-dragging) state education departments.

The Act creates a social studies task force to draft social studies standards based on American Birthright—and which therefore can be tailored to suit the state’s own needs. The task force provides an opportunity for public input, its work product has to be approved by the education committees of both legislative houses, and every member of both legislative houses will have a chance to move amendments of the standard in detail. If the standards pass by concurrent resolution in both legislative chambers, then they are in effect for five years—at which point, they will be subject to review by a new task force.

Civics Alliance 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. We now have nine affiliates, in Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, 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 (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, May 30, at 4:00 PM Eastern Time. Please email randall@nas.org 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

2029: Louisiana

2031: Illinois

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 (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 members may now use the Civics Bill Tracker to track all proposed federal and state legislation related to civics.

Public Action

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.

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