|Back to November Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 214||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||NOVEMBER 2003|
|Pushing the 'New Civics' |
The American History and Civics Education Act of 2003 (H.R. 1078) is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill pushes the "new civics" advocated by the Center for Civic Education (CCE), authors of We, the People: The Citizen and the Constitution. According to the Maple River Education Coalition (now known as EdWatch), H.R. 1078 had 117 cosponsors as of October 2, enough to allow the bill to be placed on the "consent calendar." This means the bill could be passed by a voice vote on the House floor without any hearings or amendments.
H.R. 1078 would set up "Presidential Academies" to teach the new civics - 12 for teachers and 12 for high school juniors and seniors. CCE's own documents describe "New Civics" as follows: "In this century, by contrast with the past, we may reasonably speculate that education for citizenship in a democracy will, with each decade, become everywhere more global, international and comparative in curricular content and processes of teaching and learning. And we ought to think now about how to improve our current curricular frameworks and standards for a world transformed by globally accepted and internationally transcendent principles and process of democracy."
The Senate companion bill, S. 504, passed 90-0 before education watchdogs discovered it was on the agenda. For the first time, warns EdWatch, Congress is writing actual curriculum into federal law. "Congress is concerned about the lack of civics and history knowledge, and this has appeared to be a perfect solution."
But the new civics does not teach American sovereignty, the inalienable rights of American citizens, or the principles of our Founding Fathers. Rather, CCE compares the "negative" rights in our Bill of Rights with the "positive constitutionalism in regard to human rights" in the United Nations.