A Timeline of the Center's Advocacy for Civic Education

The Center has advocated for over 25 years for increased emphasis an civic education.
  • 1991

    The Center published CIVITAS: A Framework for Civic Education, which was developed in conjunction with educators in every state as well as several other countries.

  • 1994

    The Center published the National Standards for Civics and Government, developed in conjunction with more than two thousand scholars, educators, and members of the general public. The National Standards have been widely used as a model for state curricular frameworks and standards throughout the country and in a number of other nations describing what students should know and be able to do in the field of civics and government at the end of grades 4, 8, and 12.

  • 1994

    Congress passed the Goals 2000: Educate America Act (P.L. 103-227). Two of the eight national goals the law established deal specifically with civic education: Goal 3: Student Achievement and Citizenship, and Goal 6: Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning. The Center led the effort to establish “civics and government” as a core discipline in our national dialogue on improving student performance.

  • 1998

    The Civics Framework for the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress (sometimes called the “The Nation’s Report Card”) was developed by Center staff and was based upon the Center’s National Standards for Civics and Government.

  • 2003

    The Center published Education for Democracy: A Scope and Sequence for California Civic Education, which describes ways in which civic education content and skills are introduced in the primary grades and built on through high school.

  • 2003–2006

    The Center conducted four Congressional Conferences on Civic Education in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Center on Congress at Indiana University, and delegations from every state in the country as part of the Representative Democracy in America program. The Joint Leadership of the U.S. Congress served as honorary hosts for these unprecedented events.

  • 2007

    The Center published Elements of Democracy, a resource for high school, college-level, and adult audiences that consists of the range of ideas that make up the vocabulary of democracy.

  • 1986-2011

    The Center has received bipartisan support from Congress for more than four decades. From 1986 to 2011, Congress authorized more than $300 million in directed funding to the Center to implement We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, Project Citizen, and the Civitas International Programs with more than 30 million students in every congressional district and in schools in eighty-four nations, most of which were emerging democracies. Congressional funding stopped in 2011 after Congress prohibited itself from directly funding anything other than governmental entities. Since that time, the U.S. House of Representatives has sent bipartisan letters in support of Center programs. These letters to the U.S. Department of Education were spearheaded by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) and contained as many as 155 signatures, including the chairs and ranking members of prominent committees and the leadership.

  • 2014–2015

    The Center worked with the offices of U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) to pass U.S. Senate Resolutions 427 and 150 by unanimous consent about the importance of civic education programs in our schools.

  • 2015

    The Center and its national network of We the People coordinators influenced significant improvements in the “Every Student Succeeds Act” that was signed into law on December 10, 2015, including language that allows the Secretary of Education to award grants for “programs that educate students about the history and principles of the Constitution of the United States, including the Bill of Rights.

Over the years the Center’s curricula, We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution and Project Citizen, have been used as a foundation of academic excellence to enable its network of state coordinators to achieve funding from state legislatures to support their state-wide civic education programs in California, Indiana, Alaska, Wyoming, Delaware, Nevada, Virginia and North Dakota.

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