The Little-Known Organization Waging War on American History and Civics Education
By AMAC Newsline – June 3, 2021
America’s schools are on the front lines of an ongoing movement that threatens the very foundations of our society. With the help of four new education funding bills working their way through Congress, a pro-racism regulation being pushed by Biden’s Department of Education, and politically activist teachers and education bureaucrats in nearly every state and the school district in the country, Democrats and their radical foot soldiers are poised to carry out a total and far-reaching program to indoctrinate America’s youth in leftwing ideology under the banner of reforming American history and civics education— an effort AMAC Newsline has previously covered.
This extraordinary undertaking is not happening by accident. A little-known nonprofit called iCivics is increasingly emerging as the driving force behind Democrats’ crusade to impose “woke” civics education in classrooms throughout the country – a crusade hostile to the core principles upon which this country was founded.
In February of this year, writer Stanley Kurtz, who has extensively reported on these efforts, detailed how in 2018, a coalition of iCivics and several other liberal activist groups “managed to gut the highly regarded Massachusetts K-12 standards on the history of America, the West, and the world while putting oppression-obsessed curriculum standards in their place.” Now, the same group is trying to do the same across the country. As Kurtz also recently outlined, the legislation currently before Congress would provide billions of dollars in funding for a federal takeover of civics education to remake it in the image of the anti-American left. Much–maybe most–of that federal money would go to iCivics and its coalition partners.
Most Americans outside of middle school and high school teachers have probably never heard of iCivics or CivXNow, the activist coalition run by iCivics. On the surface, iCivics claims that it is a moderate organization, billing itself as a tool that teachers, boards of education, and state legislators can use to encourage responsible student engagement in the democratic process. But it’s a façade. As with so many liberal educational institutions in recent years, iCivics has been hijacked by political extremists.
The leadership at iCivics has a long history of advocating for far-left political causes and directly attempting to indoctrinate students with the ideology of the Democrat Party. In one case, Chief Education Officer of iCivics Emma Humphries suggested that educators should have their students come up with Democrat talking points for the impeachment of President Trump to counter Republican talking points. In 2016, Humphries heavily criticized President Trump in a post on “Teaching the Election,” writing in her own “sample response” that Trump “plans to install a Putin-like dictatorship in America.”
To understand how overtly partisan iCivics truly is, one need only follow the money. According to federal records, iCivics staffers have donated exclusively to Democrat politicians or Democrat political action committees over the past eight major election cycles since iCivics was founded. During that time, iCivics staff has bankrolled the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden for President, Obama for President, and ActBlue, a Democrat campaign fund.
But it wasn’t just iCivics staff donating to the left. Extraordinarily, the Executive Director and leader of iCivics, Louise Dube, donated $100 to ActBlue on June 2, 2020, specifically earmarking her money with the direction to “Stop Republicans.” Describing why she got into teaching civics, Dube once asserted that “we have been teaching civics primarily from one perspective, that of the white male.” Dube hopes that civics is taught so that “we no longer gloss over systemic racism.” On another occasion, Dube stated that “iCivics made a commitment to pointing out institutional systemic racism in teaching about our institutions. This will alienate some, but it is the moral imperative of today.”
The staff at iCivics and CivXNow have not only exhibited overwhelming partisan bias in favor of Democrats, but iCivics staff also embrace educational concepts that closely align with the goals of progressive Democratic politics. For example, one of the dedicated purposes of CivXNow is to push “action civics” as an alternative to traditional civics education, urging teachers to downplay traditional content-based education and instead encourage student protests on behalf of political causes, which somehow virtually always turn out to be liberal.
Leaders of iCivics also back Critical Race Theory as a framework for studying civic engagement, attacking American institutions by claiming that they are “systemically racist” and “have not only failed to protect Black and Brown people but have too often made them targets by some of the very people whom we have entrusted to protect our lives.” Some leaders of iCivics tout the New York Times’ widely discredited 1619 Project as a true account of American history and, perhaps most egregiously, openly promote the Marxist concept of “equity” – as opposed to equality – as a central tenet of the organization.
More recently, iCivics has been working to instill a Common Core-like approach to American history teaching through its recently released “Educating for American Democracy (EAD) Roadmap & Report.” The problem with American history teaching, according to iCivics, is that “[f]or much of American history, most schools presented U.S. history and civics largely from the perspective of white, Protestant, propertied men…Students can make it into their teens without knowing, for instance, that George Washington not only was a foundational leader but also enslaved people.”
The Democrat party and leftist coalition led by iCivics is desperate to impose its vision of American history on the nation. Its national history curriculum content roadmap and report tells history teachers across the country what questions to ask their students, what themes to teach their students concerning American history, and even provides new definitions for key historical terms. The term “America,” according to the iCivics led the report, is “[f]or many people,” “a term of attachment.” But “[f]or others, it has been a term of marginalization.” Throughout its roadmap and report, iCivics uses “the phrase ‘citizen and civic participant’” because, they say, “[a]n individual who is not born or naturalized in the United States may yet serve as a paragon of citizenship.” The iCivics national content roadmap for history curriculum is designed to change state standards, increase federal control in history education, and create a framework for de facto national curriculum content standards on history and civics. In many ways, the iCivics roadmap appears to be a more significant violation of federalism than the original Common Core. The iCivics coalition wants to align the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the test often called “the nation’s report card”) with the EAD “Roadmap.” This would be the quickest and easiest way to impose a de facto national curriculum on the nation’s schools. States will be forced to teach from the same EAD curricular hymnal if they want to get federal grants.
Despite the efforts of Stanley Kurtz and a few others to highlight the pervasive influence of iCivics in education circles, you likely won’t hear much from traditional media outlets about the group or the policies they’ve helped pass. Most Democrats and pundits understand that the ideas promoted by organizations like iCivics are hopelessly out of touch with what most Americans believe. If conservatives don’t rise to confront the dangers of woke education soon, however, the long-term damage done to generations of young Americans may prove to be irreparable.