If you live in Ohio, testify in favor of HB 103 and SB 83! If you’re anywhere, help us build a new database so we can contact school board members! There’s work for Civics Alliance members—and news, from Indiana, Missouri, and all around the nation …
Ohio: Bills Introduced for K–12 Social Studies Reform and Higher Education Reform
The Civics Alliance is delighted about Ohio HB 103, a bill which would set up a commission to draft new Ohio Social Studies Standards modeled on American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards; and about Ohio SB 83, which would provide a broad range of higher education reforms—many of them inspired by the Civic Alliance’s Model Higher Education Code. We encourage Ohio citizens to provide testimony (testimony times are not yet scheduled) and support for these bills; please get in touch with David Randall (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in these roles.
Help Us Contact School Board Members
We would like to construct our own database from the America First Policy Institute’s (AFPI) Parent Power database. We would be very grateful for volunteers willing to help take school board members’ contact information from AFPI’s website and put it into a Civics Alliance spreadsheet. Several weeks of solid work should finish the entire job—ideally divided among multiple volunteers! If you are interested, please email David Randall (email@example.com).
Video for School Board Members
The Civics Alliance plans to start approaching school board members directly, about the possibility of adopting American Birthright at the school level. As part of this campaign, we have recorded a video making the pitch directly to school board members. If you know any interested school board members, please forward them the video link!
Indiana Social Studies Standards
The National Association of Scholars (NAS) and the Civics Alliance wrote an open letter to the Indiana Department of Education: “NAS Comments on Draft Indiana Social Studies Standards.” We concluded that Indiana’s Standards are far better than those of states such as Minnesota and Rhode Island, and that the draft Standards provide a solid basis for social studies instruction, although they would still benefit from systematic revision. We write this particularly to encourage optimism among Civics Alliance members. Vigilance is still necessary!—but state education departments, both Indiana’s and Tennessee’s, unprompted, still can produce decent social studies standards. This is good news for the country. It also allows us to strengthen our “best existing practices” arguments—we can tell Rhode Islands and Minnesotas to adopt the practices of Indiana and Tennessee, as well as of South Dakota or Virginia.
Missouri School Board Election Date Bill
Missouri state legislators have introduced SB 234, which would move school board election dates to the November general election. We’re not sure if this is explicitly inspired by our model School Board Election Date Act—but it has mostly the same substance. We’re delighted that school board election date reform is getting stronger in the states, and we urge Civics Alliance members to work for it in their own states.
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 state, 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 (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 Monday, April 3, 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 Ɱ – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83540899