Despite challenges and delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Civic Education Coalition has been hard at work this summer. We have added new members and strengthened our working relationships with government, education, and business leaders in this state. The Coalition has continued to increase visibility statewide and nationwide on the civic education
push in Texas. We have seen success in fundraising for our teachers to provide digital continuing education opportunities as well as resource curation. In the midst of all this activity, we are also working toward a branded Coalition website. The Coalition task forces have also made exciting progress as described below. In short, we have and are continuing to amass the largest ever Texas coalition unified by our common and obtainable goal of revitalizing civic education and improving the character and engagement of our citizenry. If you want to get further involved or have suggestions on additional members or resources, please contact us at Texas@iCivics.org
Coalition Task Force Updates
The Legislative Task Force
After many months of research and hard work by numerous Texas Civic Education Coalition members, including the Legislative Task Force, we are pleased to share that we have finalized agreed legislation for civic education reform in Texas. The bill endorses the need for K-12 standards enhancements that focus on building civic knowledge based on our founding documents and principles; instilling civic skills and appropriate civic attitudes; and encouraging responsible civic behavior through structured civic engagement opportunities. The bill also supports better integration of history and civics. Finally, the bill also provides for civic content in ELA instruction as well as needed teacher continuing education opportunities to enhance strategies for safely teaching civics topics and media literacy in this increasingly polarized environment. The plan remains to file the bill in this upcoming legislative session. We are currently working on a first review by Legislative Council and selecting bi-partisan sponsors. We are also working with the Judicial Council and the Texas Supreme Court on a resolution prior to the legislative session relating to the critical need for increased civic education in Texas. If you are a member who has not yet reviewed the draft legislation and are interested in participating in the recommendations process, please contact Wendy May.
Civics Curricular K-12 Content Task Force
Members of the Content and Curriculum Task Force began meeting in May to consider improved integration of civics education into the Texas education standards. The task force consists of Texas social studies teachers and curriculum coordinators working together to conduct a grade level review of the standards. This task force intends on providing recommendations for improving civic learning within and outside the classroom. Regular meetings have provided the opportunity to investigate civics education research, which led to the creation of a rubric for conducting the standards review. The survey of elementary and middle school standards in particular has provided great insights for possible avenues of incorporating improved civics opportunities. The high school review is expected to be completed in the fall. The goal is to produce a summary of recommendations that will inform stakeholders and policymakers as to the best next steps to take.
Individual Student Civics Diploma Seal Program Task Force
Members of this task force are reviewing other state diploma seal programs or individual civic readiness assessments to compile a list of “best practices” and draft a proposed high school civics diploma seal program. The proposed program will also addresses how to implement it equitably and consistently and exceed mere completion of required courses. This group is also researching how similar seals are recognized by the field and working to secure that recognition by Texas collegiate admissions offices. The task force is also coordinating their work with the School Achievement in Civic Readiness task force. Members of the Student Civics Diploma Seal task force have been focused on diversifying their membership, including adding student voices. If you’re interested in joining, please email Dodie Kasper.
School Achievement in Civic Readiness Task Force
Members of the School Achievement in Civic Readiness task force have completed a comprehensive review of other state school level civic readiness assessment programs, and compiled a list of best practices in recognizing school civic readiness. They are working now to define what it means to be civic ready (work that will be coordinated with the Individual Student Civics Diploma Seal Program task force), and to draft a proposed rubric for acknowledging school civic readiness achievement in Texas.
Texas Community Partnership Task Force
The Texas Community Partnership task force is currently looking for members. Members of this task force should include museums and other physical civic or historical sites who support civic learning, and are looking to help enhance civic education in the state. This group will deliver a report on recommendations for leveraging community partners to enhance civic education for K 12 students in Texas. Please email Genevieve Kaplan if you are interested in joining this task force.
We are actively pursuing funding to create an official website for the Texas Civic Education Coalition as well as providing a curated resource library for members and Texas educators.
CivXNow State Affiliate Membership
CivXNow works with and supports coalitions and entities operating within a state that are committed to advancing meaningful civic learning policy and practice improvements on a bipartisan basis, and consistent with the recommendations outlined in the CivXNow policy
menu. The Texas Civic Education Coalition is proud to participate as a CivXNow state affiliate along with other state-level civic education coalitions from across the country. The state affiliate committee meets to share best practices and resources, collaborate, and address needed fundraising assistance. Successes we achieve in Texas can be modeled in other states across the nation via the state affiliate network.
CivXNow, a cross-partisan coalition of the nation’s 130+ leading civic education organizations, is committed to helping every school in the nation fulfill its historic and vital civic mission. CivXNow convenes and supports the civic education field and promotes state and federal policies aimed at institutionalizing high-quality civic education across our nation. Building the civic strength of our country is urgent and CivXNow supports our conviction that schools must educate with the explicit purpose to prepare students for a role in our constitutional democracy.
What CivXNow Has Accomplished Thus Far
- Since 2017, the national convener in civic education
- Published Republic is Still at Risk, a seminal research paper in the field. • Published large scale empirical study about how to make system level change in civic education, validating policy as a change lever.
- Published a state policy menu
- Published two case studies about successful civic policy change
- Supported state-based efforts in Massachusetts, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Indiana, Illinois, WA and Nebraska