Improving civics education should be a bipartisan issue, and The Civics Secures Democracy Act co-sponsored by Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX) aims to be just that. However, the bipartisan bill has faced major opposition by the so-called Civics Alliance, which published a letter in March whose signatories included people who notoriously fanned lies of a stolen election and worked to restrict voting access on the basis of these lies. The public deserves to know what role external organizations may play in hindering the passage of the bill and the Department of Education’s response to such efforts.
CREW has requested communications regarding the Civics Secures Democracy Act between the Department of Education and any non-governmental organization, nonprofit, think tank, campaign, or other outside organization. CREW has also requested all records reflecting meetings or calls on the bill.
The Civics Secures Democracy Act provides funding for civics and history education and also creates a fellowship to diversify the civics and history workforce. But in its letter, the group claims that increasing the budget and breadth of civics education would serve a “liberal agenda” under the Biden administration, even though the bill would allocate resources directly to local and state leaders and specifically bars the Education Secretary from prescribing the curriculum. The Civics Alliance also pressured two Republican co-sponsors of the bill to withdraw their support of the act.
Election obstructionists’ politicization of civics education is a new low for our democracy. Students deserve access to more and better civics education, and records could reveal the motives behind those seeking to block the bill, as well as what role the Department of Education has played in handling and responding to such efforts.