Urge Congress to Restore Funding for K-12 History & Civics Education



Negotiations to finalize a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will resume when Congress returns after Labor Day. Members of the House and Senate will be meeting to iron out the differences between the versions of the bill passed by each body. Quite simply, the Senate bill restores federal funding for K-12 history and civics education while the House bill does not. 

The National Coalition for History (NCH) urgently needs you to contact your Member of the House of Representatives and ask him or her to sign a “Dear Colleague” letter supporting key provisions that fund history and civics education.

The Senate version includes four provisions that create funding for high quality American history, civics, geography, and economics education.  Some House Majority Conferees, however, have already declared their top priority in conference to be eliminating as many new programs and grants as possible.  This poses a direct threat to the Senate provisions that could inject much needed funding into history, civics and the social studies.

Congressmen Ross (R-FL) and Cicilline (D-RI) have distributed a sign on letter urging their colleagues to adopt the social studies provisions in the Senate’s version of the bill.  We need your help collecting as many signatures on this “Dear Colleague” letter as possible before September 11th so that this letter can have an important impact on the negotiations.

NCH limits our legislative “action alerts” to situations and issues that are vital to the interests of our constituents. We cannot overstress the importance of this effort! Congress has not reauthorized the ESEA in 15 years so this is likely our only opportunity to get funding restored for K-12 history and civics education.  Time is of the essence so act today!

How to Contact Your Congressperson

Please email or call your House member’s office and urge them to support restoring federal funding for history and civics education.

To contact your representative, you can use one of these two options. Unfortunately because of security protocols, traditional “snail mail” letters take weeks to reach your Members. No matter which means of communication you choose, please personalize your message as to your background or interest in history. If you are employed in the field, mention the institution where you work in your congressional district. You can also use the Dear Colleague letter as talking points.

  1. Send an email. NCH, working with our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance, has prepared a one-step link to your House member (click here). You simply enter your address and the system identifies your representative. We’ve provided an email template that can be edited to personalize your message. The message not only goes to your Member’s email, but their Twitter account and Facebook page as well.
  2. Make a phone call. All Members of Congress can be reached through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202)224-3121. If you feel comfortable doing so, a personal phone call is preferable to an email. If you speak to a staff member, be sure to get their name and email address so you can forward them a copy of the K-12 History and Civics funding “Dear Colleague” letter. If you are sent to voice mail, briefly describe the situation and refer them to the two staff contacts listed on the “Dear Colleague” letter for more information.