Why We Should Beware of the 'Civics Secures Democracy Act'

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

With the widespread backlash against public school districts presenting ideas inspired by Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 classrooms, progressives are seeking other ways to indoctrinate students. Enter the Civics Secures Democracy Act. This legislative proposal is one of those bills that sounds fantastic until you do a little more digging and discover that it is just another way to wokify the nation’s youth.

The Civics Secures Democracy Act was introduced in 2021 and is sponsored by Sens. Angus King (I-ME), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ). It is ostensibly designed to “expand educational programming in history and civics, with funding available for state education agencies, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education and research” according to a press release.

The legislation would create a fund using COVID relief funds for programs that have ended and provide $1 billion each year for civics and history initiatives. The bill would allocate $200 million for nonprofit organizations to “develop and provide access to evidence-based civics and history curricula,” among other things. It would also grant $585 million for state education agencies “to support civics and history education programs, especially with a lens to closing civics achievement gaps.”

If passed, the bill would supposedly “help states close key gaps in students’ history and civics educations.”

Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Maybe not at first glance, but there is more to this particular story.

During his speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority 2022” in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, former President Donald Trump slammed the bill and those supporting it. He said:

“Despite the parental backlash, Democrats are right now racing to pass a federal bill to push CRT in schools nationwide. Terrible. Known as the Civic Secure Democracy Act, this bill would spend billions and billions of dollars imposing federal curriculum standards. So called civics education. They call it civics education, which is nothing more than a fake name for radical left indoctrination. We have enough of it. It’s common core 2.0. The idea of creating a national civics curriculum controlled by these communists and socialists is madness for the United States of America.”

Author Stanley Kurtz, in a piece for National Review, cautioned against being fooled by the verbiage used to describe the content and purpose of the proposal. He noted that while the proposal might be “anodyne-sounding,” it would likely “be interpreted by the Biden administration as a green light to fund Critical Race Theory in the schools.” He pointed to a draft federal rule for grant priority in the country’s civics and history education as proof of the White House’s true intentions.

Indeed, the Biden administration’s rule does have some rather problematic elements when it comes to how it would distribute funding. It proposed a series of questionable priorities “to support the development of culturally responsive teaching and learning and the promotion of information literacy skills in grants under these programs.”

For those who don’t know, culturally responsive teaching is a type of pedagogy used in K-12 classrooms that takes into account a student’s cultural background when teaching certain concepts. While it is effective when used as intended, many districts have begun using it as another way to introduce CRT-inspired concepts to students. For example, the documentation for the rule explains:

The Department recognizes that COVID-19—with its disproportionate impact on communities of color—and the ongoing national reckoning with systemic racism have highlighted the urgency of improving racial equity throughout our society, including in our education system.

It also cites Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, a fierce defender of CRT, and his ideas on antiracism. It uses a quote from one of his books:

An antiracist idea is any idea that suggests the racial groups are equals in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities.

The administration also cites the New York Times’ 1619 Project as a resource as well.

The bill failed to pass last year and has been on the back burner since. But it appears some in Congress seek to resurrect the proposal, hoping they can get it passed with a bipartisan coalition of senators. Given that Republican lawmakers are poised to cave to Democrats on gun control, it is not outside the realm of possibility that some would do the same with civics education.

Civics and history are problematic areas when it comes to American education. A very small percentage of students are proficient, especially in civics. Indeed, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ National Report Card, only 27 percent of fourth-graders, 24 percent of eighth-graders, and 24 percent of 12th graders were at or above proficiency in civics. It is abundantly clear that the nation must do better when it comes to educating children on how our government works.

But woke civics ain’t real civics.

In fact, the advancement of wokeism depends on Americans being ignorant about civics and history. For Marxism to succeed, the public cannot understand the government that the left seeks to use against them. It is much easier for the elites to take advantage of the rest of us when we are not aware of the machinations of the state. What America’s students need is actual civics, not a far-leftist version designed to further indoctrinate them. Perhaps when Republicans retake Congress and the White House, they can come up with real solutions.


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