A nonpartisan alliance of civil society advocates and educators are working to persuade the Congress to pass the Civics Secures Democracy Act (CSD Act). This act, if passed, would provide needed and currently unavailable federal dollars to state and local education agencies to “making available to all students innovative, engaging curricula and programs in civics and history that prepare them to understand American Government and engage in American democratic practices as citizens and residents of the United States [from §2(a) of S4384].”
We support this legislation, in its present form, because it would improve the visibility of civic and history education in U.S. schools, support preparation of social studies teachers equipped to teach civics appropriate to our democratic, constitutional republic, and create a more engaging environment in which human rights educators can more effectively demonstrate the relationship between HRE and civics in a democratic society.
It is vital that this legislation survive the legislative process in our partisan Congress with its simplicity and straightforward language intact. We are not seeking special language for HRE, because HRE is already recognized as a necessary part of social studies education (see NCSS position statement on HRE) and an essential companion to democratic civics education (see HRE USA and EAD briefing paper on HRE USA website (https://hreusaorg.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/hre-brief-on-ead.pdf). We are concerned that the legislation not be straitjacketed with amendments designed to prohibit inclusion of diverse and equitable perspectives.
S4384 is the reintroduced version of the CSD Act, with a larger, bipartisan group of Senate sponsors than the bill introduced in 2021 (S879). It’s companion House bill, HR1814, is still active. Supporters are seeking a larger group of sponsors in the House for this bill or a bill revised to match the newer Senate bill.
WHAT CAN HRE SUPPORTERS DO:
- Learn about S4384 and HR1814 (https://civxnow.org/our-work/federal/).
- Read the support letter that CivXNow collaborators, including HRE USA have jointly signed (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DdiXy_Oj9w4Vw_vxgPcoUVjs5vTaNl4DODv3fMCw0HM/) Encourage organizations engage with to support the letter, too.
- Use the August Congressional Recess to urge members of your Congressional Delegation to support or co-sponsor the CSD Act, and to keep it clean of restricting amendments. You can find resources in the CivXNow CSD Toolkit (https://civxnow.org/our-work/federal/take-action/#/) and Social Media Toolkit (https://civxnow.org/our-work/federal/social-media-toolkit/)
- Watch the HRE USA website and Facebook page for updates as this legislation (hopefully!) moves forward.
- Talk up the necessary connection between HRE and Civic Education in democratic societies.
- Share your efforts with the HRE USA community.
To learn more about HRE USA’s support for this legislation and our efforts to keep it from being dragged down by hostile amendments, contact email@example.com or Rosemary Blanchard (firstname.lastname@example.org), the HRE USA liaison who is following this initiative. If Civics Secures Democracy, then let’s demonstrate that HRE secures democratic civics.