The growth of populist and White nationalist political movements driven by hatred or fear of the “other” within the U.S. threatens to undermine the fundamental principles of constitutional democracy on which the nation is founded. In response, educators have joined in a common effort to restore the study of democratic practice and constitutional principles to a more central place in public education — to “build better” the capacity and willingness of the people within the United States to “promote the general welfare” through shared civic endeavor.
In 2019, iCivics, a “non-profit organization in the United States that provides educational …[resources] to promote civics education and encourage students to become active citizens,” obtained significant grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities to engage “scholars, classroom educators from every grade level, practitioners, and students from a diversity of viewpoints, demographics, and roles” to “pool their expertise to create a strategy for providing excellent history and civics to all students.“ With this funding, iCivics created a project called CivXNow to house the Educating for American Democracy (EAD) initiative. In March 2021, EAD launched a “Roadmap” for revitalizing civics and history. This original Roadmap only contains brief references to human rights and has not sufficiently addressed the domestic significance of respect for human rights in maintaining a diverse democratic society. To remedy this gap, HRE USA applied to both CivXNow and the EAD initiative to become part of their coalition. Both related projects agreed that HRE USA’s advocacy for HRE for all was an appropriate value for their efforts and soon identified HRE USA as a Coalition Member in CivXNow and a Champion for EAD.
As an EAD Champion, HRE USA developed, with EAD staff and with support from EAD leadership, an educational brief, detailing the need for HRE as essential preparation to participate in “an inclusive, democratic society.” The joint HRE USA/EAD brief acknowledges: “A core purpose of the U.S. Constitution, according to the Preamble, is to ‘promote the general welfare.’ When that ‘general welfare’ is not equitably available to some members of society, threats to fundamental human rights are present and need to be resolved to realize the ideals of our democratic republic and its Constitutional democracy.”