Urge Congress to Support Funding for K-12 History and Civics Education

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted in 2015, reauthorizing the nation’s law governing K-12 education. Most importantly for many of NCH’s constituent groups, the law restored designated funding streams for history and civics. To learn more about these programs click here. Even though ESSA authorized money for the programs, now we need to ensure Congress provides appropriations for those grants and we need your help!

We are seeking funding for the following three programs in the law:

  • American History and Civics National Activities: $6.5 million
  • American History and Civics Academies: $1.815 million
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $1 billion (history, civics, economics and geography are among eligible subjects for funding under this program)

The federal government is currently operating under a temporary funding bill for FY ’17 that expires in April. In addition, Congress will also start considering the FY ’18 budget once it is submitted by the Trump administration in the late-spring. So we are advocating for funding in BOTH the FY 2017 and FY 2018 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bills. Currently, only the House version of FY ’17 Labor, HHS and Education bill includes the funding levels noted above.

Most Hill offices have a mid-late February deadline for constituents to make appropriations requests. As a result it is critical that you act NOW to ensure these programs get funded this fiscal year and next.

We need you to call or email the legislative assistant who handles appropriations for your two U.S. Senators and .your House of Representatives member, to ask that the Congress appropriate resources for quality education in history and civics.  There are three ways to do this:

1. Go to the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) website to the Voter Voice link:  https://www.socialstudies.org/advocacy/actioncenter . We have prepared a message that you can send to your two Senators and your Representative by entering your name and zip code.  If you wish, you can edit the letter before you hit send. This is quick and easy – it takes less than five minutes.   You don’t have to be a member of NCSS to use Voter Voice.

We have drafted a letter (click here) that you can personalize and send directly to the staff people who advise your Senators and Representative on education funding.  This takes a little longer, but ensures that the proper person sees your message. Follow these easy steps:

If you don’t know who your Representative is, go to www.house.gov and enter your zip code in the box for the name of the Congressperson who represents you.  You can look up your Senators at www.senate.gov.

2.  Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative’s or Senator’s office.  Ask the receptionist for the name of the staffer who handles education appropriations.  Then ask for the email address of that staffer. If they don’t want to provide it, ask to be connected to their voice mail and leave a message.

Adapt the draft letter with your name, zip code, and any personal information about how history education affects your life and/or those of your children who are K-12 students.  Then email it to the education appropriations staffers for the Members of Congress who represent you.

If the Congressional office says you need to fill out an appropriations form ask to have it sent to you and follow the instructions.  Need help filling out the form?  Let NCH know and we’re happy to assist.

3. Every Senator and Representative has a “Contact Me” button on their homepage. You can go there and cut and paste the letter you have already written. However, given the overwhelming amount of emails Members of Congress have been receiving since the new president took office this is your least effective option.

Don’t wait for the deadline to make your request – and then share the link to Voter Voice with your colleagues, on your Facebook account, or through Twitter – you can make a difference!