Raising the Bar for American History and Civics

A purple graphic with a white ED logo in the bottom right corner. Bold white text in the center of the graphic reads, "Raising The Bar For American History and Civics."

By: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education 

Democracy thrives when there is a well-educated and informed citizenry. Raising the Bar in education means that every student is provided with a well-rounded education, and that includes creating opportunities to learn deeply about American history, understand the U.S. Constitution and how our system of government works, and build the skills required to engage in the democratic process. From a student perspective, understanding civics education can create agency in being able to shape the world around us and build a better society. Educators play an important role in creating environments to engage in robust discussions and innovate in activities to learn about civics. The U.S. Department of Education recently announced awards for two grants that will strengthen American History and Civics:

American History and Civics- National Activities 

The purpose of this program is to promote new and existing evidence-based strategies to encourage innovative teaching of American history, civics and government, and geography instruction, learning strategies, and professional development activities and programs for teachers, principals, or other school leaders. This is particularly salient for instruction, strategies, activities, and programs that benefit students from low-income backgrounds and other underserved populations. 

The 2023 Grantees include:  

Auburn University 

AZ Board of Regents on behalf of Arizona State University 

Equal Opportunity Schools 

iCivics, Inc. 

Illinois Institute of Technology 

Literacy Design Collaborative 

Marquette University 

National Constitution Center 

National Council for History Education, Inc. 

Region One Education Service Center 

See Stories 

University of Maryland College Park 

University of South Florida 

Wilderness Education Project 

Young Audiences of Louisiana, Inc 

American History and Civics- Academies 

Applicants for this program support projects to raise student achievement in American history and civics by improving teachers’ and students’ knowledge, understanding, and engagement. The Academies Program supports the establishment of (1) Presidential Academies for the Teaching of American History and Civics that offer workshops for both veteran and new teachers to strengthen their knowledge of American history, civics, and government education, and (2) Congressional Academies for Students of American History and Civics that provide high school students opportunities to enrich their understanding of these subjects. This is particularly salient for Academies that benefit students from low-income backgrounds and other underserved populations. 

Examples of these projects include:  

  • Eight non-profits, three universities, and a state educational agency partnered to create American History workshops for teachers and opportunities for high school students to learn more around the U.S. Constitution. 
  • A non-profit educational center partnered with the National Park Service to create a two-week history and civic experience for both teachers and students. 

The 2023 Grantees include:  

Alaska Council of School Administrators 

Georgia Center for Civic Engagement 

Kentucky Educational Development Corporation 

University of Wisconsin – Parkside 

The students in our classrooms today will be future leaders in our schools, communities, private industry, and government— a government for the people, by the people. These grants will create opportunities to further enrich discussion on democracy and enhance civics education to build a better tomorrow.