September 17, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced the Constitution education Is Valuable In Community Schools (CIVICS) Act, to support the development of Constitution and civics education curriculum for students across the country. The Senators’ legislation comes on Constitution Day, which was established in 1952 to recognize the importance of the United States Constitution and the importance of citizenship and civics in our daily lives.
“In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln called upon the American people to take up the cause of our nation, and fight for the continued success of ‘Government of the people, by the people, for the people,’” said Senator King. “But Lincoln’s plea doesn't only apply to his contemporaries — it is the responsibility of each successive generation to carry the mantle of American civic life forward. In order to live up to the ideals of our nation, it is important to first fully understand them; civics education is one of the most important ways we can teach our future leaders about our past, and I’m proud to support any effort to expand its presence in schools.”
“The Constitution established the basis and formation of our nation: that we are a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Yet, too often, students aren’t taught about the Constitution, its history or its principles – including the Bill of Rights,” Inhofe said. “By restoring an emphasis on the Constitution in civics education, we can encourage more young Americans to be active participants in our democracy by communicating with their elected officials, engaging in advocacy and, when eligible, voting in state, local and federal elections.”
First established in 1952, Congress expanded the recognition of Constitution Day in 2004, requiring public schools and federal agencies teach the Constitution and civics lessons. While the American History and Civics Education program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, created grants for institutions of higher education and other organizations to develop evidence based approaches to improve the quality of American history, civics and government, or geography learning and teaching, schools who receive these grants are not required to teach the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The CIVICS Act would require grant recipients to teach the Constitution.