Published February 25, 2021
Winning control of both houses of Congress and the White House had Democrats pondering ways to secure national dominance, whether that be by pushing to add Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico as states or abolishing the Electoral College. But one tactic hasn’t received nearly as much attention as it deserves: the manipulation of civics education.
Required adventures in “action civics,” student protest and lobbying for course credit, will eventually be paired with a push to lower the voting age to 16 or 17, an idea Democrats have already broached at the national level but that can be done more easily, at least for certain elections, by state legislatures.
Massachusetts is ground zero for the effort to foist leftist “action civics” onto the rest of the country. That effort is led by a Cambridge-based nonprofit organization called iCivics, assisted by influential academic centers for newfangled “civics” at Harvard and Tufts. Generation Citizen, an action-civics nonprofit group with a long-standing presence in Massachusetts, is another key player.
In 2018, this coalition 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. The coalition’s crowning achievement, however, was to introduce an “action civics project” into the Bay State’s K-12 standards at two points, eighth grade and high school. In practice, the supersized Massachusetts action-civics requirement was a way of turning leftist political protest into homework.
Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.