By Lee White
In December, President Obama signed into law a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The “Every Student Succeeds Act” restored funding for K–12 history and civics education that was eliminated five years ago. Unfortunately, when the president’s budget request was released on February 9 it did not include appropriations for the major new program source of funding for history and civics.
Left unfunded was a competitive grant program for nonprofit organizations to develop and disseminate innovative approaches to provide high-quality instruction in American history and civics for underserved students.
Representatives Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Gwen Graham (D-FL) have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to all members of the House of Representatives, inviting them to sign a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for funds for these competitive grants.
The National Coalition for History (NCH) urgently needs you to contact your representative and ask him or her to sign the Ross/Graham “Dear Colleague” letter supporting funding for history and civics education.
How to Contact Your Representative
Please call or e-mail your House member’s office and urge them to support federal funding for history and civics education. To contact your representative, you can use one of these two options. No matter which means of communication you choose, please personalize your message as to your background or interest in history. If you are employed in the education field, especially as a K–12 teacher, mention the institution where you work in your congressional district.
Make a phone call. All members of Congress can be reached through the US Capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121. If you feel comfortable doing so, a personal phone call is preferable to an e-mail. If you are not sure who your representative is you can follow this link to the House’s website. Then enter your zip code, which will provide a link to your member’s website. Ask the receptionist for the name of the staffer who handles education funding. Then ask to leave a voice mail, or ask for the e-mail address of that staffer.
- Message: Representatives Ross (R-FL) and Graham (D-FL) have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to be sent to the House Appropriations Committee requesting funds for K–12 history and civics grants at the US Department of Education. These new grants were authorized under the “Every Student Succeeds Act” enacted in December. The future health of our democracy depends on the quality of instruction today’s students receive in these subjects. I urge you to support this bipartisan effort by signing on to the Ross/Graham “Dear Colleague” letter to promote the teaching of Traditional American History and civics by funding these programs.
Send an e-mail. NCH, working with our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance, has prepared a one-step link to your House member. You simply enter your address and the system identifies your representative. We’ve provided an e-mail template that can be edited to personalize your message. The message not only goes to your member’s e-mail, but their Twitter account and Facebook page as well.