Skip to content

June 15, 2022

King Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Expand Civics Education Nationwide

Civics Secures Democracy Act would make a $1 billion annual investment in civics and history at K-12 and higher education institutions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to improve access to civic education with a $1 billion investment across K-12 and higher education, to counter decades of cuts to instruction on America’s founding principles. The Civics Secures Democracy Act would expand educational programming in history and civics by providing funding for state education agencies, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education. Currently, as American trust in public institutions is near all-time lows, only nine states – including Maine – require a full year of civics or government studies, and 10 states have no requirement at all. The bill was introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), and is also cosponsored by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

“American democracy is an anomaly in world history, and its future relies on each generation understanding our shared history and founding ideals,” said Senator King. “Supporting civics education is one of the most important investments we can make to protect this system of government for the generations to come. With our nation facing deep divisions, I hope this bipartisan legislation can help bring us together around core principles, support Maine educators, and teach young Americans about what makes our system of self-government so precious.”

The Civics Secures Democracy Act helps support educational programs in civics and history by: 

  • Creating a Civics Secures Democracy Fund supported in the first instance using COVID relief funds for programs that have since expired, providing $1 billion annually for civics and history initiatives. These initiatives are broken out as:
    • $585 million for state education agencies, which would be awarded by formula and passed on to districts to support civics and history education programs, especially with a lens to closing civics achievement gaps;
    • $200 million for nonprofit organizations, which would be awarded competitively and used to develop and provide access to evidence-based civics and history curricula and programs;
    • $150 million for institutions of higher education, which would be awarded competitively, used to support civics and history educator preparation and ongoing development;
    • $50 million for researchers, which would be awarded competitively and used to assess and evaluate civics and history education programs and identify best instructional practices; and
    • $15 million for a new Prince Hall Civics Fellowship program, which would diversify the civics and history education workforce by recognizing outstanding educators from underrepresented communities and providing a supplemental stipend in exchange for a five year teaching commitment.
  • Incorporating Senator King’s CIVICS Act, bipartisan legislation to expand K–12 and higher education civics grant programs.
  • Encouraging the biennial administration of the civics and history NAEP in grades 4, 8, and 12.
  • Strengthening and making the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation and James Madison Fellowship Program sustainable by recapitalizing their respective trusts and providing them broader investment authorities. 

A one-pager for the Civics Secures Democracy Act is available here

Senator King has been a strong advocate for increasing civic engagement, especially among younger Americans. He has previously introduced the Constitution education Is Valuable In Community Schools (CIVICS) Act, bipartisan legislation designed to support the development of Constitution and civics education curriculum for students across the country. 

Next Article » « Previous Article