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DeLauro, Cole Introduce the Educating for Democracy Act, Historic Investments in Civic Education

September 17, 2020
Press Release

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced by House Appropriations Committee Leaders to Honor Constitution Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), Chair and Ranking Member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee respectively, today marked Constitution Day by introducing the Educating for Democracy Act. This legislation would create a variety of grants to states, non-profits, institutions of higher education, and civic education researchers to support and expand access to civics and history education. Additionally, the bill would require the National Assessments of Education Progress (NAEPs) in civic and history education to be administered every two years in grades four, eight, and twelve and make available disaggregated, state-level results.

“If students of all ages are not given the information in their classrooms to actively participate in our democracy, we cannot expect them to stay engaged and informed as adults,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “The divide in this country continues to grow as we neglect civic education and fail to build a nation adequately informed of our democratic principles, norms, and institutions. We must focus on educating our citizens in order to sustain our democracy, and the federal government must provide the resources to support this learning. I am proud to work across the aisle with my colleague, Representative Cole, and with the CivXNow Coalition and the National Coalition for History to introduce this critical, long overdue legislation. The Educating for Democracy Act takes the necessary steps to bridge the divide in the United States and invest in the future of our democracy.”

“The best way to preserve America’s unique form of governance is through civics education,” said Congressman Cole. “Indeed, when Americans are equipped with the fundamental knowledge of our democratic principles, they are much more likely to participate. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important legislation to support and expand access to civics and history education so we may develop and teach curriculum that enriches generations to come.”

“This bipartisan legislation is the first proposed investment in civic education that is commensurate with the need to protect the health of our constitutional democracy,” said iCivics Executive Director and CivXNow Coalition Advisory Council Chair Louise Dube. “We thank Congresswoman DeLauro and Congressman Cole for their leadership in introducing this bill which would make a critical investment in, and significantly strengthen, civic education in this country. The CivXNow Coalition is committed to making high quality, equitable civic education accessible to all, and this bill is an important step in that direction. We support their efforts wholeheartedly.”

Research shows that students who receive quality civics education are more likely to vote, discuss politics at home, complete college, and develop skills that lead to employment. These students are also four times more likely to give back to their communities through volunteering and working on community issues and are more confident in their ability to speak publicly and communicate with their elected representatives.

The Educating for Democracy Act introduced by Representatives DeLauro and Cole is cosponsored by Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02).

A list of organization endorsements of this legislation is available here.

The full text of this legislation is available here.