January 31, 2019
Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced the Constitution education Is Valuable In Community Schools (CIVICS) Act today to support the development of Constitution and civics education curriculum for students across the country.
“There is an old document around that nobody reads anymore called the Constitution,” Inhofe said. “It established the basis and formation of our nation: that we are a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Yet, too often, students aren’t taught about the Constitution, its history or its principles. By enacting the CIVICS Act and emphasizing the importance of the Constitution in civics education, we can encourage more young Americans to be active participants in our democracy by communicating with their elected officials, engaging in advocacy and, when eligible, voting in state, local and federal elections.”
“For nearly 250 years, the Constitution has guided America’s system of government and defined our national ideals,” said Senator King. “But for all of the Framers’ careful work, the continued success of our American experiment is by no means guaranteed. It is the responsibility of each successive generation to carry the mantle of American civic life forward – and to accomplish that, our future leaders must understand our shared past. By expanding civic education and ensuring that our students fully engage with the national values that define us, we can help them gain the knowledge they need to carry on the work of so many before them: striving to build a more perfect union.”
“Among my highest priorities is strengthening opportunities—from college accessibility to national service to civics education—that will cultivate new generations of civic leaders,” Coons said. “ As Tocqueville noted, ‘Nothing is harder than the apprenticeship of liberty.’ I am proud to support this effort to ensure that ever more of our future leaders are challenged with the enduring questions in our experiment in democracy.”
In 1952, Congress established Constitution Day to recognize the importance of the United States Constitution and the importance of citizenship and civics in our daily lives. In 2004, Congress expanded the recognition of Constitution Day, requiring public schools and federal agencies teach the Constitution and civics lessons. While the American History and Civics Education program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, created grants for institutions of higher education and other organizations to develop evidence based approaches to improve the quality of American history, civics and government, or geography learning and teaching, schools who receive these grants are not required to teach the Constitution, its history and principles, including the Bill of Rights. The CIVICS Act would require recipients to teach the Constitution.
Read the legislation here.