A national civics organization laid out a new set of academic standards this week for K-12 social studies classes aimed at improving education throughout the country and combating the rampant anti-American bias it says has taken hold in social studies instruction.
This new document (pdf), “American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards,” is a blueprint that was unveiled on June 27 by The Civics Alliance in an online conference call. It can be used as a framework for state education standards. The standards cover four disciplines that the group says are being mistaught: history, geography, civics, and economics. The document was developed by the group, a project of the National Association of Scholars (NAS), in conjunction with myriad experts and organizations across the United States.
“State academic content standards are the most influential documents in American education,” David Randall, American Birthright coordinator and director of research at NAS, told The Epoch Times during the call.
“They shape what public school districts and charter schools teach. They also influence what textbooks authors write, and what knowledge assessment companies (such as the College Board) test for in their Advanced Placement examinations. They affect teacher training and they provide the framework for teachers’ lesson plans,” Randall said.
The Civics Alliance said in a statement that it wants “to improve every aspect of American social studies instruction by inspiring America’s state education departments to provide social studies standards that teach American students their birthright of liberty.”
“Every student should be educated to be another Harry Truman—a high-school graduate who, without ever graduating from college, has a solid grasp of history and is capable of serving as an officer, a judge, a senator, and president.
“American Birthright teaches students to identify the ideals, institutions, and individual examples of human liberty, individualism, religious freedom, and republican self-government; assess the extent to which civilizations have fulfilled these ideals; and describe how the evolution of these ideals in different times and places has contributed to the formation of modern American ideals.
“Above all, American Birthright teaches about the expansion of American liberty to include all Americans, the contributions that Americans from every walk of life have made to our shared history of liberty, and America’s championship of liberty throughout the world. Students will learn of heroes of liberty such as Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ronald Reagan.”
It is a major problem, according to the blueprint, that activists in schools “are so antagonistic toward our culture, without recognizing what they owe to it, that they seek to erase our worthy history of liberty from the curriculum.” Instead of embracing “an informed and intelligent patriotism, they foster a cynical spirit devoid of appreciation for the richness and complexity of the American past.” This has resulted in too many Americans leaving school “ignorant of America’s history, indifferent to liberty, filled with animus against their ancestors and their fellow Americans, and estranged from their country.”
“The warping of American social studies instruction has created a corps of activists dedicated to the overthrow of America and its freedoms, larger numbers of Americans indifferent to the steady whittling away of American liberty, and many more who are so ignorant of the past they cannot use our heritage of freedom to judge contemporary debates.”
To save America, social studies instruction must be “centered on liberty.”
“American students do indeed need to learn that redress of grievances is an essential component of civic liberty—but this should not be used as an excuse to convert social studies instruction into the polemical nursing of resentment or into community organizing efforts designed to recruit students into activist organizations,” the blueprint states.
The Civics Alliance was founded last year by NAS after President Joe Biden rescinded President Donald Trump’s executive order banning the Marxist critical race theory in federal training, and junked Trump’s 1776 Commission that sought to move American education away from a radical curriculum that unduly emphasized race-related injustices of the past.
NAS describes itself as “a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education.”
The Civics Alliance describes its goal as uniting Americans in an effort to promote authentic civics education that teaches the United States’ founding principles and documents, key events of American history, the structure of the nation’s self-governing federal republic, and the spirit of liberty and tolerance.
According to the group, The Civics Alliance “works at whatever level of government offers the opportunity for constructive civics education reform. We provide model legislation and social studies standards for policymakers and informative materials to help grassroots activists and citizens push for civics education reform. We inform the public about why civics education needs to be reformed and how it should be done.”
Members of American Birthright’s executive committee include Wenyuan Wu, executive director of the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation; Carson Holloway of the Center for the American Way of Life at the Claremont Institute; Katherine Kersten, senior policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment; and Terry Stoops, director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation.
Twenty state lawmakers along with North Carolina Lieutenant Gov. Mark Robinson, have signed on to the project. Policy experts, academics, activists, and journalists endorsing American Birthright include Victor Davis Hanson at the Hoover Institution; Mary Grabar at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization; John Fonte of the Hudson Institute; Williamson Evers, a former U.S. assistant secretary of education now at the Independent Institute; Heather Mac Donald and Christopher Rufo of the Manhattan Institute; Julie Ponzi of American Greatness; and Richard Viguerie of ConservativeHQ.com.
Supporters can join the American Birthright coalition by completing a petition available on its website.