Issues at a Glance
Below is our policy agenda for 2023 developed in conjunction with our constituent organizations. Click on the issue brief title for further information on the individual issues.
For our archive of past advocacy issues, click here.
Divisive Concepts Legislation
We oppose the passage of so-called “divisive concepts” legislation by state legislatures. Such bills are designed to limit discussion about racism, sexism, and discrimination in the classroom and/or the workplace. They endanger the academic freedom essential to all classrooms, especially those where history is the focus of discussion and debate. According to Education Week, as of June 28, 2022, “Since January 2021, 42 states have introduced bills or taken other steps that would restrict teaching critical race theory or limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism. . . Seventeen states have imposed these bans and restrictions either through legislation or other avenues.”
NCH belongs to the Learn from History Coalition. It is a coalition of parents, educators, and other concerned Americans who are working together to combat “divisive concepts” bills and to ensure that all children can learn accurate, thorough, and fact-based history in our schools. For additional information, we also recommend:
- The American Historical Association’s (AHA’s) “Teaching History with Integrity” initiative.
- “Reframing History,” Reframing History is the result of a two-year, deep-dive research effort to understand how Americans think about history and how our field can more effectively explain history’s value. It was funded by the Mellon Foundation and carried out in partnership with the FrameWorks Institute, American Association for State and Local History, National Council on Public History, and Organization of American Historians.
- American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Resource Page on “Educational Gag Orders.”
- AAUP FAQ’s on “Educational Gag Orders”.
- Pen America’s Free Expression and Education website.
- PEN America and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) published a joint statement raising alarm about the recent spread of legislative restrictions on the freedom to learn and teach, calling attention to the grave threats these measures pose for shared governance, academic freedom, college and university accreditation, and the institutional autonomy enjoyed by colleges and universities nationwide.
- PEN America responds to 5 popular (but incorrect) myths about educational gag orders: https://pen.org/5-myths-about-
- PEN America’s report on educational gage orders in 2022 state legislative sessions: America’s Censored Classrooms
- “What’s Actually Being Taught in History Class?” New York Times, August 17, 2022
Support History Education
We support passage of the Civics Secures Democracy Act, which would provide $5 billion over the next five fiscal years to ensure that every K-12 student in America receives a high-quality history education.
Selection of a New Archivist of the United States
Archivist of the United States (AOTUS) David Ferriero retired in April 2022. NCH endorsed a statement to President Biden setting forth the background, characteristics and experience he should seek in selecting a replacement.
NCH Statement in Support of the Nomination of Dr. Colleen Shogan as the 11th Archivist of the United States.
Public Access to Government Records and Information
Through legislation, regulation, and adequate funding, ensure that the public has the greatest possible access to federal government records and information. NCH supports reform of rules and regulations designed to expedite the declassification of federal records and avoid the overclassification of records when they are created. NCH has sent letters to Congress and the White House urging such changes.
NCH supports legislation to provide an additional $60 million to the National Archives in FY 23 to reduce the current backlog of requests from veterans for their military service records. NCH has sent letters to the Senate Armed Services, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees in support of expedited consideration of the legislation.
Reform the Presidential Records Act
We urge Congress to reform and strengthen the Presidential Records Act. Effective enforcement measures, including appropriate penalties for noncompliance, are essential to establishing and maintaining sound record keeping practices.
Support the National Archives and Records Administration
We urge Congress to increase funding for the National Archives and Records Administration in Fiscal Year 2024.
Support the National Endowment for the Humanities
We urge Congress to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities in Fiscal Year 2024.
Support the National Historical Publications and Records Commission
We urge Congress to increase funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission in Fiscal Year 2024.
Support the Institute of Museum and Library Services
We urge Congress to increase funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Fiscal Year 2024.
Support Funding for History and Preservation Programs at the National Park Service
Ensure that programs are under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service to educate our citizen’s about their nation’s history and preserve America’s historic sites, buildings, and artifacts have strong federal government support.
Support Funding for Title VI/Fulbright-Hays International Education Programs
We urge Congress to increase funding for the Title VI/Fulbright-Hays International Education in Fiscal Year 2024.
Support the Library of Congress
We urge Congress to increase funding for the Library of Congress in Fiscal Year 2024.