American Birthright: New push to improve K-12 social studies standards

While some activists are advocating for leftist civics education, only 13% of eighth grade students scored at or above the U.S. history standards last year, according to the National Assessment of…

While some activists are advocating for leftist civics education, only 13% of eighth grade students scored at or above the U.S. history standards last year, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

This has led to a conservative push for the teaching of the basics of U.S. history and civics.

Several organizations are building new programs and curricula to reintroduce essential civics education, stripped of liberal approaches to the subject such as those found in the 1619 Project

Some of the new efforts include PragerU‚Äôs Resources for Educators and Parents, The Heritage Foundation‚Äôs Heritage Guide to the Constitution, and the The Tuttle Twins books by Connor Boyack. 

Others are focused on establishing civics and history standards to help schools select appropriate resources for each grade level. 

The American Birthright (AB), for example, is a set of learning standards developed by the Civics Alliance, a coalition of organizations and individuals ‚Äúdedicated to improving America‚Äôs civics education.‚ÄĚ  

While some in the media and the education establishment have called the standards “extreme‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúright wing‚ÄĚ, the Civics Alliance drew primarily from already established state standards, including the state departments of education in Florida, Indiana, and Massachusetts, as well as a related report from the National Association of Scholars. 

AB also provides guidelines to school boards and the government on how implement its model standards. 

School boards are urged to prioritize the implementation of a ‚Äúproper social studies curriculum‚ÄĚ, while also giving parents and taxpayers transparent assessments of student progress in the subject.  

At the federal level, AB recommends the government withdraw completely from regulation or funding any aspect of K-12 education, as it ‚Äúviolates fundamental principles of American federalism.‚ÄĚ  

The coalition urges state governments to take several measures to support healthy civics education. 

These include moving away from social studies standards created by groups the coalition considers problematic, such as Educating for American Democracy and the National Council for Social Studies.  

States are also encouraged to pass laws that prohibit ‚Äúdiscriminatory pedagogies and action civics‚ÄĚ for social studies classes, require certain course instruction, reduce the state education department‚Äôs authority, as well as require existing state standards and revisions to be submitted to the legislature and governor for review.  

AB executive committee member and Idaho Freedom Foundation‚Äôs education director Anna Miller tells The Lion the standards should ensure students have a foundational understanding of how liberty works for all Americans, a main goal of the project. 

‚ÄúDespite the rampant number of ‚Äėdiversity‚Äô initiatives on college campuses and in K-12 schools, instead of creating a liberated group of diverse minds, our education system has produced a group of degree-holding elitists who blindly believe in destructive political causes because the system never nurtured their minds enough to foster critical thinking,‚ÄĚ Miller said. 

Some school districts, such as the Woodland Park School District in Colorado, are already adopting the standards.