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S. 879: Civics Secures Democracy Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 22, 2021.

Civics Secures Democracy Act

This bill provides resources to expand educational programs in American civics and history, including by establishing grant and fellowship programs and reauthorizing various programs.

First, the bill authorizes the Department of Education (ED) to award grants to states, qualified nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education (IHEs), and qualified researchers to support and expand access to civics and history education.

Next, the bill establishes a fellowship program to diversify the civics and history education workforce.

In addition, the bill reauthorizes through FY2027 and revises the American History for Freedom grant program. The bill renames the program as the American Civics Education Program.

The bill revises the grant program to authorize ED to award grants to IHEs once every three years to establish or strengthen academic programs to promote American political thought and history; the history, achievements, and impact of American representative democracy and constitutional democracies globally; and the means of participation in political and civic life. IHEs may use grants to support additional activities, such as collaborating with federal or state humanities programs and using open educational resources.

Further, the bill reauthorizes through FY2022 and revises the Harry S. Truman Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund and the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Trust Fund.

Finally, the bill requires the National Assessment of Educational Progress in civics and history to be administered every two years to certain grade levels.