Other Group

National Action Civics Collaborative (NACC)

Founded:

2013

The National Action Civics Collaborative (NACC) is a left-of-center education policy advocacy initiative which pushes for school systems to adopt civics instruction and service-learning programs that involve students directly in political activism, both on their own initiative and as part of their classes. The Department of Education under President Barack Obama was a prominent backer of this approach throughout President Obama’s time in office, and the NACC was launched in 2013 by a collective of leading liberal education pressure groups. [1] [2]

Philosophical Underpinnings

“Action civics” is an approach to civics instruction and service learning in schools which is championed by some left-wing education activists, who generally describe it as a way to get students more active and involved in addressing social issues. A notable proponent of action civics was Arne Duncan, the secretary of education in the Obama administration, who pushed for public school systems to partner with local activist groups to develop their civics programs. The action civics concept has received criticism from some education policy advocates, such as the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which argued in a 2012 article that taxpayer-funded schools should not push students into politics and that the federal government should not enable this process. [3]

The right-of-center Heritage Foundation has also criticized the action civics model, arguing that in practice, the approach would lead to schools promoting explicitly liberal views to impressionable children and teenagers. Heritage cited examples of teaching programs instructing future educators to guide their students towards left-wing race ideology, pro-labor union activism, anti-Second Amendment protests, and advocacy for left-of-center gender ideology. [4]

A 2018 paper published by the Brookings Institution, a leading liberal policy analysis and advocacy organization, claimed that the “action civics” approach was gaining momentum thanks in large part to the group’s efforts. However, Brookings acknowledged that “it is difficult to measure the extent to which these practices have been adopted across the country.” [5]

Founding Organizations

The groups which make up the National Action Civics Collaborative include Earth Force, Generation Citizen, and four other liberal education policy advocacy organizations. The collaborative also received a launch grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which has also backed activism against the enforcement of immigration law and pushes for redrawing electoral district lines across the country in a way that would favor Democratic Party candidates. [6]

Earth Force is an educational activist group with a particular focus on promoting anti-fossil fuel activism among students and young adults. The organization embraces the left-wing “action civics” agenda, brands itself as the “home” of the movement’s environmentalist wing, and states an explicit goal of recruiting one million youth activists to advance its cause both in the classroom and through the legislative process. [7]

Generation Citizen is a pressure group which pushes for liberal education policies, especially the adoption of the “action civics” method of teaching. The organization claims that American society and its major institutions are fundamentally biased against ethnic minority groups, and that schools must adopt programs which direct students towards activism against this perceived inequality. [8]

The McCormick Foundation is based in Chicago, Illinois. It funds a broad range of liberal causes in addition to education policy change, including journalism guided by left-wing principles and criminal justice policy which would expand the role of activist groups and welfare programs. [9]

References

  1. “Chester E. Finn, Jr. “Should schools turn children into activists? And should Uncle Sam help?” Thomas B. Fordham Institute. January 18, 2012. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20160304095645/http://edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-weekly/2012/january-19/should-schools-turn-children-into-activists-and-should-uncle-sam-help-1.html ^
  2. “National Action Civics Collaborative Launches Campaign to Energize and Improve Youth Civic Engagement.” PRWeb. September 17, 2013. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11084423.htm ^
  3. “Chester E. Finn, Jr. “Should schools turn children into activists? And should Uncle Sam help?” Thomas B. Fordham Institute. January 18, 2012. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20160304095645/http://edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-weekly/2012/january-19/should-schools-turn-children-into-activists-and-should-uncle-sam-help-1.html ^
  4. Hance Winingham, Jonathan Butcher. “Why Action Civics Is More Action Than Civics: K-12 Students Aren’t Ready to Be Activists.” The Heritage Foundation. February 8, 2021. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://www.heritage.org/education/commentary/why-action-civics-more-action-civics-k-12-students-arent-ready-be-activists ^
  5. Michael Hansen et al. “2018 Brown Center Report on American Education.” Brookings Institution. June 27, 2018. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.brookings.edu/research/2018-brown-center-report-on-american-education-an-inventory-of-state-civics-requirements/ ^
  6. “National Action Civics Collaborative Launches Campaign to Energize and Improve Youth Civic Engagement.” PRWeb. September 17, 2013. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11084423.htm ^
  7. Earth Force. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://earthforce.org/about-us/ ^
  8. “The Problem.” Generation Citizen. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://generationcitizen.org/about-us/the-problem/ ^
  9. “How We Work: Our Grants.” Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://www.mccormickfoundation.org/how-we-work/ ^
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