Here at Florida Citizens, we try to avoid advocating for a particular political position. The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship is the result of a bi-partisan collaboration between two great Florida political figures: Lou Frey and Bob Graham. As a result, we focus our work on helping students and teachers understand what it means to be a good citizen, and to advocate for social studies and civic education, rather that taking positions on pending national legislation. However, this alert from the National Council for the Social Studies is, I think, import enough and relevant enough that it is necessary to share. It directly impacts the effort to create that next generation of citizens and creates even more challenges to the beleaguered field of the social studies. The notice below is from NCSS, and I endorse the sentiment completely:

Dear Social Studies Colleagues:

Last week, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) released his draft of a Re-Authorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA…aka NCLB).

Sadly, there is nothing in the Bill for civics, history, geography, cconomics — the Social Studies. We respectfully request your immediate help to remedy this.

We are proposing that Chairman Alexander and his Committee adopt a provision establishing a competitive grant program that will support innovative, research-based approaches to civic learning, history, geography and economics, which may include hands-on civic engagement activities, for low-income elementary school and secondary school students, that demonstrate innovation, scalability, accountability, and a focus on underserved populations.

Your US Senators have an opportunity to weigh-in now on Chairman Alexander’s draft ESEA re-authorization. Their comments need to be sent to Sen. Alexander by the middle of the week of February 2nd. We ask that you immediately do two simple things:

  1. Write Your two US Senators and ask they contact Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) to urge the inclusion of the Programs of National Significance language included in the sample text provided below.
  2. After receiving confirmation of having sent your message to your Senators, Please share this critical Action Alert with your membership, cooperating teachers, Board, friends, family etc. by selecting one or more of the information dissemination possibilities listed in the tabs below in the “Share with Friends” section:
    • Social Media – Click on a social media button to share this campaign with your friends.
    • E-mail – Enter your information along with up to 30 of your friends’ email addresses. The message listed below in this section will be sent to the designated addresses. The email addresses you enter will not be shared with anyone or used except for the purpose of sending this message.
    • Web – Use the link provided in this section to share this campaign on your blog or personal website.

Thank You!

National Council for the Social Studies

Click the link below to take action on this issue:

Take action now and contact your senators! Contact info for Florida’s senators can be found here, and contact information for senators from other states can be found here.