Campus Reform | New ‘Civics Alliance’ aims to ‘unite Americans in the effort to preserve civics education’

New ‘Civics Alliance’ aims to ‘unite Americans in the effort to preserve civics education’

The National Association of Scholars has created a new coalition called the “Civics Alliance” which aims to promote a “full understanding of civics” and the responsibilities that come with citizenship.

The Civics Alliance has released a Curriculum Statement to outline some of the techniques that would be helpful or should be required in civics courses for grades K-12 as well as college.

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) announced the creation of “The Civics Alliance” which is a coalition of educators, scholars, policymakers and individuals who are concerned about school curriculum and civics education.

The goal of this new alliance is to restore "traditional American civics education” in our schools and provide a curriculum that involves the history of our Constitution and Founding Fathers. According to the press release, the Civics Alliance will “work to unite Americans in the effort to preserve civics education that teaches the United States’ founding principles and documents, key events of American history, the structure of our self-governing federal republic, and the spirit of liberty and tolerance.”

“Progressive action civics, while encouraging our students to become activists, fails to promote a full understanding of civics,” stated NAS president Peter W. Wood in the press release. “It fails to teach the responsibilities of citizenship, how our federal republic operates, and the Founders’ reasoning behind America’s balance of powers, Bill of Rights, or encouragement of public education.”

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David Randall, the NAS director of research, stated that civics classes should not be used to "indoctrinate" students.

“Civics class shouldn’t be an opportunity to indoctrinate students. It should be an opportunity to teach students about our means of self-government and the spirit of tolerance and liberty,” Randall said.

The Civics Alliance Open Letter allows for any individual to become a signatory by filling out a short google form. Some of the initial signatories to the Alliance include J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, Dean Allen, president of FreedomSource University and Glenn Loury, professor of social sciences at Brown University.

In addition to the open letter, the Alliance released a Curriculum Statement, which includes a “toolkit for signatories to use to guide and influence civics instruction in their institutions, local schools, and states.”

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The toolkit provides a guide for teaching civics in K-12 schools as well as colleges. “Each state should require all incoming students at public universities to take a civics literacy test,” states one of the suggestions for higher education.

Two semesters of European history, two semesters of United States history and two semesters of United States Government are recommended as college civics curriculum by the NAS. They also recommend focusing on “texts and debates of the period between 1763 and 1769” as well as the political debates that occurred between our Founding Fathers.

Chance Layton, communications director for NAS, told Campus Reform during a phone call that the curriculum statement “outlines ideally what we would like to see taught in civics classes.”

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“Future plans involve the development of state laws to try and encourage this kind of curriculum,” Layton stated. He further explained that eventually bi-weekly calls will be hosted with signatories and state-lawmakers to discuss further actions.

Layton specified that these recommendations are not meant to “discourage civic involvement,” instead these measures will ensure that students receive the necessary education before getting involved in political movements.

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