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ABA and Civic Education

The American Bar Association’s Goal IV is to “Advance the Rule of Law” and the first objective under that goal is to “Increase public understanding of and respect for the rule of law, the legal process, and the role of the legal profession at home and throughout the world.” One effective means to do so is to provide high-quality civic education for people throughout their lives—but beginning as children, including in schools. The Civics Secures Democracy Act (H.R 1814 and S. 4384) provides essential funding, resources, and guidance for teachers, leaders, and community members—which has been lacking in recent decades—to ensure that young people emerge from school with the knowledge and skills they need to secure American democracy now and in the future.

Support the Civics Secures Democracy Act (CSDA)

The Civics Secures Democracy Act is a bipartisan bill that creates grants for states and districts to support and expand access to U.S. history and civics to meet the needs of today's students and our constitutional democracy. The Senate bill is sponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Angus King (I-ME), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).  The House bill is currently sponsored by Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

Senate Bill Text

House Bill Text

Section-by-Section Summary


Senators Coons, Cornyn introduce bipartisan bill to invest $1 billion annually in civics education - Civics Secures Democracy Act would expand educational programs in civics and history at K-12 and higher education institutions, June 14, 2022

Dear Colleague letter from lead House cosponsors

House Cosponsors  -- Senate Cosponsors

List of Organizations Supporting the Civics Secures Democracy Act

ABA Policy – Civics Secures Democracy Act

In August 2021, the ABA adopted a policy urging enactment of the Civics Secures Democracy Act (HR 1814 and S 879) or similar legislation to provide support for expanded and improved civic education in the United States.

2022 ABA Survey of Civic Literacy report

The survey measures the American public’s civics knowledge as well as their views on a range of topical issues. Past Survey of Civic Literacy reports: 2021; 2020; 2019.

Take a civic literacy quiz from the ABA Division for Public Education

Other Resources

Harvard Business Review White Paper - The Business Case for Civics Education

ABA Division for Public Education

Other ABA Policy Supporting Civic Education

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector entities to promote digital literacy, civic education, and public awareness to build societal resilience to domestic and foreign malign disinformation operations and to increase understanding of the importance of democracy, voting, and democratic institutions. 20A300B

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact legislation that provides for voter preregistration for eligible 16-18-year-olds and that they be added to the voter roll upon reaching the legal age for voting; for high schools and colleges to provide students a meaningful opportunity to register and vote and to provide robust civics education to promote well-informed voting; and for governmental entities to appropriate sufficient funds to implement voter preregistration and civics education as called for by this resolution. 20M108

Urges all governments to develop and implement an age-appropriate curricula designed to instill in all students a sense of the personal responsibility to cast informed votes and to teach them how to educate themselves regarding candidates and issues in elections. 17A117B

Urges federal, state, territorial, and local governments to require civic education for elementary, middle, and secondary students in the nation’s public schools and to provide competitive grant funding for programs to meet this requirement. 11M300

Encourages all lawyers to consider it part of their fundamental responsibility to ensure that all students experience high quality civic learning, including the study of law, government, and history. 10A110

Urges policymakers to establish a Coordinating Office of Civic Education in the U.S. Department of Education to enhance students’ civic learning by offering competitive grant programs at the local, territorial, state, and national levels; facilitating professional development for educators; supporting research; and developing innovative curricula. Urges policymakers to require that the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for civics and U.S. history be conducted every four years and that the results be reported at both the national and state levels. 09A122

Urges amendment of the No Child Left Behind Act, if reauthorized, or the adoption of other legislation, to ensure that (1) all students experience high quality civic learning, including study of the law, government and history; (2) civic learning is regularly and appropriately assessed; and (3) civic learning is accorded national educational priority on a par with reading and mathematics. 07A114

Encourages all lawyers and judges to be personally and actively engaged in civic education in their communities and schools. Urges all lawyers and judges to work to increase Americans' understanding of the role of separation of powers in our constitutional democracy. Urges policymakers at all levels of government to ensure that all students experience high quality civic learning, that civic learning is regularly and appropriately assessed, and that civic learning is accorded national educational priority on a par with reading and mathematics. 06A102

Urges the legal profession to seek support of policymakers, educators, the media, and the general public to ensure that subject matter to advance the civic mission of schools, including study of law, is included in the core K-12 curriculum and reflected in all standards, instruction, professional development, school funding decisions, and evaluation. 04A122

Supports public education to foster understanding of the Constitution and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and advance this goal of civic literacy as fundamental to the continued functioning of the United States as a constitutional democracy and a nation under the rule of law; and urges the legal profession and the organized bar to engage the support of policy makers, educators, the media and the general public to further this goal through implementation of the national education goals and voluntary standards for civics education at the elementary and secondary school levels. 95M114