July 21, 2022
Center for Education Opportunity
Did You Know The Federal Government is Trying to Pass a $6 Billion Civics Education Bill?
July 21, 2022
“The misleadingly named “Civics Secures Democracy Act” (CSDA) — just now reintroduced in Congress — will allow the Biden Administration to push Critical Race Theory (CRT) on every public school in the country. Over a six-year period, this $6 billion pot of competitive grant money will create a de facto national curriculum — just like Common Core.” – (Kurtz, 2022)
- Members of Congress have introduced the Civics Secures Democracy Act (CSDA), which provides $6 billion in grant money to “support educational programs in civics and history.”
- This legislation could enable the creation of a de facto national curriculum that incorporates Critical Race Theory (CRT), action civics, and other radical political ideas.
- Parents and grassroots activists should care about the CSDA because it could further politicize and diminish the quality of public education.
WHAT IS THIS FEDERAL LEGISLATION?
The Civics Secures Democracy Act (CSDA) creates grants to “support educational programs in civics and history” (CSDA, p. 8). These funds will be distributed based on standards set by the United States Department of Education (DoEd), which has supported race-based principles like Critical Race Theory (CRT) throughout the current administration. CRT is a theory that describes all the history and laws of the United States as racist, stating that they work to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and non-whites, especially African Americans.
CSDA is so vaguely written that it opens the door for the political manipulation of education funding. As a result, these funds could be used to support the development of CRT curricula for our schools.
WHY SHOULD PARENTS AND GRASSROOTS ACTIVISTS CARE?
Infusing CRT into Curriculum. CSDA claims not to be creating a national curriculum; in reality, as Stanley Kurtz points out, “States desperate to tap into the federal gravy train will have to tailor their civics and history grant proposals to the Biden administration’s liking.” Grantmaking is extremely subjective, with limited guardrails allowing the Biden Administration a large amount of discretion. The Biden Administration has clearly pushed race-based policies like CRT. This bill would empower unelected bureaucrats to set standards requiring applicants for grant funding to incorporate tenets of CRT and race-based pedagogy into their proposals. We know this because:
- DoEd established pro-CRT criteria for history and civics grants, even citing the 1619 project (a historically inaccurate work of journalism turned into the curriculum) in its first proposal.
- DoEd promoted an Abolitionist Teaching Network booklet full of race-based policies like CRT, even asking teachers to “disrupt whiteness.”
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) labeled parents “domestic terrorists” for opposing efforts to teach CRT in public school classrooms.
- DoEd established a “National Parents and Families Engagement Council” that is Left-leaning, with 80% of its members being donors to President Biden and other liberal officials.
Political Protest for Class Credit. The CSDA also calls on states, institutions of higher education, and nonprofits to focus on teaching methods that “prepare [students] to understand American Government and engage in American democratic practices.” Based on the intent revealed in early versions of the bill that more openly pushed “action civics,” this is feared to be another way to say “political protest for class credit.” In fact, some of the bill's biggest supporters, like the CivXNow coalition, are the main practitioners of action civics.
- One specific practice includes “participation in models and simulations of democratic processes” (CSDA, p. 5). This provision could enable DoEd and progressive teachers to propagandize and indoctrinate students through “simulations” like attending political events or protests in class.
- The proposal also amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to support “hands-on civic engagement activities for teachers and students” (CDSA, 30).
Money to Nonprofits and Left-Leaning Universities to Create K-12 Curriculum. CSDA gives hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to nonprofits and institutions of higher education to support civics and history curricula development and teacher preparation and development. As a result, the CSDA could help infuse CRT into K-12 curriculum.
- This means groups promoting the historically inaccurate and radical New York Times “1619 project” are likely to receive funding based on policies we have seen from the Biden Administration.
- Universities are encouraged to host professional development training for K-12 teachers focused on “instruction that engages students in learning civics and history.” In other words, Left-leaning university faculty will be creating content for k-12 teachers and teaching them how to implement it (CSDA, p.2).
Changing “The Nation’s Report Card.” The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), or “the Nation’s report card,” acts as a national test of basic knowledge but was originally designed to not compare state curricula so as to avoid establishing a national curriculum. However, the CSDA could effectively do exactly this and force a national curriculum on states and localities.
- The CSDA would increase assessments in history and civics and add a specific state-by-state comparison that would allow DoEd to view individual states’ compliance levels with the Biden Administration’s guidelines.
- The CSDA then ties renewal funding to the “effectiveness of the activities… based on the results of” the NAEP and willingness to participate in the civics and history position of the test regularly (CSDA, p. 11).
- Whoever controls the standards used to assess outcomes has the power to determine the direction of state curricular content. The National Assessment Governing Board governs NAEP, and the United States Secretary of Education appoints its members. President Biden’s Secretary of Education appointed/reappointed:
- Viola M. Garcia, who cosigned the letter to DOJ deeming parents fighting against CRT as “domestic terrorists.
- Beverly Perdue, former Democratic Governor of North Carolina, who founded a nonprofit that calls for a task force to “incorporate equity into everything we do.”
“I was shocked to discover that some Republicans had cosponsored a truly radical, so-called civics bill designed to force every public school to teach racist leftwing propaganda.” -Newt Gingrich
Rep. Tom Cole [R-OK-4], Rep. Brian K. Fitzpatrick [R-PA-1], Rep. Grace Meng [D-NY-6], Rep. Theodore E. Deutch [D-FL-22], Rep. Elaine G. Luria [D-VA-2], Rep. Earl Blumenauer [D-OR-3], Rep. John B. Larson [D-CT-1], Rep. Cynthia Axne [D-IA-3], Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. [D-GA-2], Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon [D-PA-5], Rep. Jamie Raskin [D-MD-8], Rep. Andre Carson [D-IN-7], Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi [D-NY-3], Rep. David J. Trone [D-MD-6], Rep. Susan Wild [D-PA-7], Rep. Peter A. DeFazio [D-OR-4], Rep. Jim Cooper [D-TN-5], Rep. Kim Schrier [D-WA-8], Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee [D-TX-18], Rep. Tom Malinowski [D-NJ-7], and Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro [D-CT-3].
Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX], Sen. Bill Cassidy [R-LA], Sen. James M. Inhofe [R-OK], Sen. Angus S. King [I-ME], Sen. Mark Kelly [D-AZ], and Sen. Christopher A. Coons [D-DE].