The MacIver Institute joins with the Civics Alliance to create American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards
In just the past legislative session, we’ve watched educators, right up to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, lambast bills that would have required a minimum level of civics education for graduation, a parental bill of rights, and reading assessments for Wisconsin students. These parent-driven reforms saw their genesis in the pandemic. with schools closed, parents saw firsthand the curricula being taught, and the decline in already-worrisome reading and math proficiency of their children.
But the demands for reform fell on deaf ears. The education establishment insisted that as “experts” their voice is the only relevant one, even though fewer and fewer of the children they educate are learning, and able to perform at grade level. And the left doubled down on rejecting parental input, with lawmakers directly telling parents to butt out.
These issues are not unique to Wisconsin, and that’s why the MacIver Institute has joined a coalition of parents groups, education advocates, and public policy groups in proposing model school civics standards which have just been released. “American Birthright” is a starting point for states to build their own standards that emphasize the history of the founding of our democratic representative republic, the rights, responsibilities, checks and balances, and liberty that are the basis of the American exceptionalism that is a beacon to the world.
It is a back to basics approach, grounded in fact, rejecting the political agendas that have led to social studies education in many schools to consist of educators antagonistic to American culture teaching students they bear personal responsibility and shame for historic events or teaching that skin color matters and values do not…when civics is taught at all.
The establishment of education experts will no doubt howl. American Birthright not only sets standards expecting competence in history, geography, civics and economics, but also appropriate grade-level writing proficiency. It doesn’t train students to protest and it does not use the tenets of critical race theory to make human history no more than a study of racism. Rather, it expects that children will be taught to be students of history, not members of a political party.
American children should be equipped to continue the work bequeathed to them by the Founders — to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. The Civics Alliance offers American Birthright to help its fellow Americans to craft the standards, the curricula, the textbooks, and the lessons that will sustain our republic and our nation.
David Randall, Executive Director of the Civics Alliance and Director of Research for the National Association of Scholars