We members of the Civics Alliance convened by the National Association of Scholars call on all U.S. Senators, Representatives, as well as all concerned American citizens, to oppose the Civics Secures Democracy Act, whether in its original or its revised form. In practice, the Civics Secures Democracy Act will enable the federal government to impose both Critical Race Theory and “Action Civics”—vocational training for ideologically partisan protest and lobbying—upon America’s schools.
Over the last year, voters and their representatives in state after state have delivered a resounding rebuke of Critical Race Theory in education. Their message remains clear: schools must be free of indoctrination and activism. Yet, the Civics Secures Democracy Act would supercharge politicized education around the country, at precisely the moment when the public has rejected it.
Last year, the Civics Alliance sent an open letter to Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Tom Cole, urging them to rescind their support for the Civics Secures Democracy Act. We renew that appeal to Sen. Cornyn and Rep. Cole now, and address it to other Senators and Representatives as well. Far from supporting the teaching of traditional American civics, the Civics Secures Democracy Act will do the opposite. Under the pretense of supporting American civic education, this bill would fund education research and teaching initiatives with an unmistakable ideological agenda. The Biden administration made that clear when it issued priorities for American civics and history grants, guidelines which approvingly referenced The 1619 Project and the work of Ibram X. Kendi. The Biden administration history and civics grant guidelines amount to a call for Critical Race Theory in education, and the Civics Secures Democracy Act would fund it.
Lobbyists are now actively pushing a revised version of the Civics Secures Democracy Act, with the hope that these revisions will placate critics and garner more bipartisan support. This revised version, however, does nothing to change the ideological partisan nature of the bill. The bill’s end result will be a civics education that divides Americans into mutually hostile factions, forfeiting the common ground that real civics aims to cultivate.
The revised bill would still allocate billions of dollars—to be allocated by the Biden administration—for civics education grants. It makes no difference that the administration walked back its guidelines’ overt reference to The 1619 Project and Ibram X. Kendi, saying that it would encourage, not prioritize, education and research that incorporates such “diverse” perspectives. Schools, states, nonprofits, and universities that hope to apply for these grants now understand exactly what perspectives this administration favors.
The bill, moreover, employs the watchwords of contemporary progressive education. The Civics Secures Democracy Act calls for grants that meet the needs of the “traditionally underserved,” especially students in “rural and inner-city urban areas” or “underrepresented minorities.” As with the title of the bill, this priority sounds innocuous but conceals a bait-and-switch. The educational establishment has long concerned itself with the “civic empowerment gap,” the consistently poor civic education of students in traditionally underfunded schools. To address this problem, a growing number of education researchers recommend not improving, but transforming, civics education. They argue that traditional civics education does not work for “traditionally underserved” students, and that civics should focus instead on narrow identity categories and “lived experience.” This is a pretext for Critical Race Theory and Action Civics—“civics education” by way of leftist activism.
While supporters insist that the Civics Secures Democracy Act is not a “curriculum bill,” it will nonetheless functionally prescribe curricula, informed by the tenets of Critical Race Theory, encouraging ideologically partisan political protest as a pedagogical tool. Lawmakers who support traditional civics have been given a singular mandate this past year: keep ideological partisanship out of the classroom. If our lawmakers don’t take a stand to oppose the Civics Secures Democracy Act, they will have failed in this most basic mission.
We note that several other bills, including the Civics Learning Act and the Promoting Programming, Research, Education and Preservation (PREP) Civics and Government Act also promise, as administered by the Department of Education, to be used to support both Critical Race Theory and Action Civics.
America’s founders wisely left education to be dealt with by states and localities. In recent years, particularly with the failed Common Core experiment, the federal government has attempted to circumvent these strictures by attaching conditions to competitive grant programs administered by the Department of Education. Now that the teaching of “civics” has been heavily politicized by the introduction of Critical Race Theory and Action Civics, it is more important than ever that the federal government remove itself from this arena and allow America’s states and localities to set their own education policies, particularly when it comes to standards and curriculum. For these reasons, we members of the Civics Alliance convened by the National Association of Scholars call on our congressional representatives and all concerned citizens to oppose the injection of the federal government into civics education, whether via existing or revised versions of the Civics Secures Democracy Act, or any of a number of other, similar bills.
Janet Barresi, Oklahoma Superintendent of Education, Emerita
Mark Bauerlein, Professor Emeritus of English at Emory University and Editor at First Things
Brandon Dutcher, Senior Vice President, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Jamie Gass, Director of the Center for School Reform, Pioneer Institute
John Hinderaker, President, Center for the American Experiment
Roger Kimball, Editor and Publisher, The New Criterion; President and Publisher, Encounter Books
Alexander Riley, Professor, Bucknell University
Christopher Rufo, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
Stanley Kurtz, Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center
David Randall, Project Director, Civics Alliance
Jenna Robinson, President, The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal
Eunie Smith, President Emeritus, Eagle Forum
Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars
Wenyuan Wu, Executive Director, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation
Californians for Equal Rights Foundation
Center for the American Experiment
National Association of Scholars
Parents Defending Education Action
The Civics Alliance
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Ret. Col. Ronald Averill, Dean of Social Sciences (Ret.), South Puget Sound Community College, Olympia, WA
Roger Barnett, Professor Emeritus, Naval War College
Andrea Bayer, Tutor
Michael Bociaga, Engineer
Bruce Bourque, Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Anthropology, Bates College
David Bryant, Scholar, National Association of Scholars
Ann Charney Colmo, Professor Emeritus, Dominican University
John Kyle Day, Professor of History, University of Arkansas at Monticello
Nils De Mol Van Otterloo, Doctor of Social Work, Private Practice
Stacey Estes, Teacher, Hood River County School District
Louis Galie, Retired Senior Vice President, Timex Corporation
Craig Gallaway, Retired Chair of Methodist Studies, Samford University, Beeson Divinity School
Tyna Gaylor, Retired CPA
Olympia Gonzalez, Associate Professor, Emerita, Loyola University Chicago
James Kramer, Professor Emeritus
Gregory Lucas, Member, National Association of Scholars
Matthew Malkan, Distinguished Prof of Physics & Astronomy, Calif. Association of Scholars
Thomas Mann, Librarian
Timothy Marden, Newberry Florida City Commissioner, City of Newberry FL
Allen Martin, Professor Emeritus, Director of the Internship Program in Social Sciences, Univ. of Texas at Tyler
Arch Mcintosh, Interim Head of School, The Fletcher School
Rod Miller, Professor, Hendrix College
James W. Muller, Professor of Political Science, University of Alaska, Anchorage
Michelle Myers, VP, Private Business
Daniel W Nebert, Md, Professor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Ohio
Leonard Nelson, Professor Emeritus, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
Claudia Nelson, Professor Emerita, Texas A&M University
John Olsen Md, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Washington
Ann Parks, Attorney
Brent Petersen, Adjunct Instructor and Senior Academic Advisor, San Jose State University
Richard Pipkin, Parent
William Pound, Ph.D.
Jackie Pratt, Retired Chief Engineer, Parent, Grandparent, Small business owner/operator
Larry Ross, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Alaska Anchorage
Jonathan Ruble, Director of IT, Wesleyan Christian Academy
Paul Sanderson, Ph.D.
Ashley Schabilion, Parent
George Seaver, Ph.D., Independent Researcher, SeaLite Engineering, Inc.
Donald B. Sparks, Edd, Principal, Sparks Management Consulting
Kenin Spivak, Chairman, SMI Group LLC
Ruth Steyn, Retired textbook editor, Various publishers
Joseph Sullivan, retired law enforcement, New York City Police Department
Richard Sypher, Retired, Hofstra University
Russell G. Todaro
Maarten Van Swaay, Professor Emeritus, Kansas State University
PJ Verrecchia, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, York College of Pennsylvania
Willis Wells, Garwood Board of Education member
Jane Wiegand, Attorney/International Practice and Author, Wiegand & Associates
Jim Windham, Publisher, The Texas Pilgrim
Mark Woolfenden, Virginia Citizens Defense League
William H. Young, Pres. H.W. Bush Appointee, American History Author, National Association of Scholars
Jordan Adams, K-12 Civic Education Specialist, Hillsdale College – K-12 Education Office
George Borkow, Tutor
Deborah DeBacker, President, Stop Common Core in Michigan Inc.
Roger Haley, Retired High School Teacher, National Association of Scholars
Mary Frances Williams, Independent Scholar
Nig Qin, Member, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation
 Stanley Kurtz, “Bill to Federalize CRT Must Be Stopped,” National Review, March 8, 2021, https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/bill-to-federalize-crt-must-be-stopped/.
 Stanley Kurtz, “How Dems Will Push Protest Civics and CRT on Schools,” National Review, June 1, 2021, https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/how-dems-will-push-protest-civics-and-crt-on-schools/.