Michael Honda from California's 15th Congressional District and Tom Cole from Oklahoma's 4th District are co-sponsoring HR 3464, a bi-partisan bill with significant importance to social studies educators. Many of you know of Sandra Day O'Connor's work in the last decade promoting civic education. Not just in California but all across America, social studies education has been pushed to side as educational leaders align the curriculum to the tests in math and English-Language Arts. Not only is student comprehension of text stunted by lack of content understanding, but the entire educational system has suffered.
Social studies educators along with many parents, government representatives, and business leaders are worried that the future of America's democratic system is in jeopardy. America's leaders have long understood that a democratic civil society is not a product of the gene pool but a fragile, purposeful creation by educated, thoughtful people. For a free society to endure, each generation of Americans must be educated about their constitutional heritage, the rights and duties of enlightened citizenship and the practice of citizen engagement. We see overwhelming need for this type of understanding all across the world and in our own society as people use force and other extreme action to create change rather than engaging one another in rational processes to solve problems in ways that meet the needs of everyone.
Currently no money in the federal budget is going to civic education or any broader interpretation of this essential learning in history, geography, or economics. HR3464 would establish is competitive grant program for civic learning within the US Department of Education. Their purpose would be to provide grants that spur innovation in civic learning teaching strategies and programs to address needs of under-served school population (rural, inner-city, disadvantaged schools). The bill would also require distribution of NAEP scores in history and civics.
How you can help? Ask your member of the US House of Representatives to sign on as a Co-Sponsor to HR3464, the 'Sandra Day O'Connor Civics Learning Act.' You may write a letter or an email to send directly to your Congressional representative. An easy way to find full contact information for Congress is at the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools website www.civicmissionofschools.org. Select the orange 'Take Action" button, then 'Write your Representative' and scroll down to type in your Zip Code. Up pops the contact information you will need.
For more information see the following documents:Dear Colleague SDO Act.pdf, QnA SDO Act.docx,
Sandra Day O'Connor Act DRAFT 11 - 10-1-1.pdf, SDO on SDO-1.pdf, Suggestions for Contacting your Member of the US House of Representatives.docx