Putting aside how one feels about the role of the federal government in public education, I think that we can agree that social studies must remain a priority in our schools. It is the first step students take down the path towards good citizenship, and it is vital to our health as a nation.
As you may be aware, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is up for renewal soon, and the House version of the bill is significantly lacking in support for our beloved and important field. To address this, Congressman Ross of Florida and Congressman Cicilline of Rhode Island have drafted and distributed a bipartisan letter urging their colleagues to adopt the social studies provisions in the Senate’s version of the bill, which include the following:
- Section 2302 provides competitive funding to LEAs to improve the teaching of history and civics.
- Section 2303 establishes intensive academies for teachers and students to learn more about history and civics
- Section 2304 authorizes grants to non-profit organizations to make a range of innovative, engaging approaches to engaging underserved students in history, civics, and geography available to local schools and school districts
- Section 1005 allows parent engagement funds to be used to support financial literacy activities.
I encourage you, as a supporter of civics and social studies in the schools, to send your representatives a note or call or email encouraging them to ensure that these provisions are in the House version of the renewal. The National Council for the Social Studies has provided an excellent template and suggestions for communicating with your representatives on this issue. Be an advocate, and live the civics that we teach our students!