After decades of underinvestment, the decline in civic education has contributed significantly to the discord, dysfunction, and widespread disengagement plaguing our nation today. Even with the recent boost in funding, the federal government invests a mere 50 cents per K–12 student in civic education compared to 54 dollars per K–12 student for STEM.
Comprehensive civic education for every student in the United States is a key solution agreed upon by a majority of Republicans and Democrats alike. Civic education, when done well, produces a more informed and engaged citizenry and stronger democratic institutions — which leads to a better educated workforce, greater market stability, and better business climate.
In 2022, Business for America advocated for the Civics Secures Democracy Act, bipartisan legislation that would produce federal grants for educators and nonprofits and provide resources to improve civic education from early childhood to higher education. Although this bill did not come to a vote in the 117th Congress, in December 2022 Congress passed the first significant increase in federal dollars for civic education. BFA mobilized nearly 30 companies and business organizations in a sign-on letter to Congress to push for this legislation and funding. While we applaud this progress, there is much more work to be done to prioritize civics in K–12 schools.
"Civic engagement is vital for the health of our democracy. With expanded civics education in K-12 and higher education, this bill will equip new generations of Americans with a deeper understanding of their responsibilities as citizens and how to exercise their cherished rights."
- Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
"The United States continues to be a model for the world because we are taught from a young age the merits of democracy, our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the civic duties that are inherently part of being an American. This bill would help our schools inspire the next generation of public servants and teach all young Texans the value of freedom."
- Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
“Over the last several decades, civics education in American schools has seen a significant decline. The divide in this country continues to grow as we neglect civics education and fail to build a nation adequately informed of our democratic principles, norms, and institutions. Now, more than ever, it is important that we work together, across the aisle to invest in our young leaders—to secure our democracy for future generations. This legislation does just that.”
- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
"In order to preserve America’s unique form of governance, prioritizing access to civics and history education is key. As a former history teacher, I believe that lack of knowledge of America’s history is one of the greatest threats to preserving our republic and ensuring a prosperous future for generations to come. Indeed, when Americans have a deeper understanding of our nation’s history and founding principles, they become more engaged citizens, who participate in our government the way our Founding Fathers intended.”"
- Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK)
Jerry Zimmerman | SVP & Deputy General Counsel, Government & Industry Relations, Allstate Corporation
Louise Dubé | Executive Director, iCivics
Chuck Dunlap | President & CEO, Indiana Bar Foundation