NCH Urges US Dept of Education to Make History and Civics Education a Funding Priority

On July 18, the National Coalition for History (NCH) submitted a letter to the US Department of Education requesting that History and Civic Education be included as priorities in determining to where to focus Federal financial assistance through the agency’s discretionary grant programs. Click here to view NCH’s letter.

PLEASE NOTE: The July 24 deadline to submit comments to the Department of Education on this proposal has passed and the docket is closed.

In 2010, the US Department of Education published a list of supplemental priorities and definitions to be used in awarding discretionary (competitive) grants made by the Department. The Department is now proposing to repeal the 2010 priorities and definitions and replace them with new priorities.

To see the draft proposal go to:!documentDetail;D=ED-2013-OII-0146-0001

Not surprisingly, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is listed as a priority area for funding. However, History and Civic Education are nowhere mentioned in the list of the Department of Education’s priorities.

The National Coalition for History’s letter recommends that the following priorities be included in the Secretary’s proposal:

1. Establish a separate Priority Area for History and Civic Learning similar to proposed Priority Seven for STEM;

2. Fund innovative history and civic learning projects that target under-served school populations (as outlined in HR1802, the “Sandra Day O’Connor Civic Learning Act of 2013”) ;

3. Support history/civic learning teacher professional development models that are replicable;

4. Implement history/civic learning projects that employ new technologies;

5. Fund projects that encourage school – community partnerships and thus enhance students’ civic knowledge and skills;

6. Encourage states to develop fewer, clearer, and higher standards of learning in the social studies.

NCH strongly urges its member organizations and interested parties to submit comments to the Department of Education stressing the importance of History and Civic Education in providing our nation’s K-12 students with a well-rounded education. While NCH’s letter can be used as a template, it is important that you use your own words and perspectives to make the case for history and civics.

In fact, the agency advises commenters to:

“Identify credentials and experience that may distinguish your comments from others. If you are commenting in an area in which you have relevant personal or professional experience say so.” We don’t get credit for the volume of comments we generate. Rather, “A single, well-supported comment may carry more weight than a thousand form letters.”

The comment deadline is July 24. Please submit your comments through the website at:!documentDetail;D=ED-2013-OII-0146-0001