The federal “Teaching American History” (TAH) program provided thousands of public school teachers access to high quality professional development. Congress ceased funding TAH five years ago, and we now have an opportunity to secure new resources. We need your help, and we need it quickly.
On December 2, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a conference report that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for the next four years and replaces the controversial “No Child Left Behind” Act. The legislation includes multiple sources of funding to support improved instruction in history and civics.
We wish we could have given you more time, and we wish we could give you more details. The legislative process makes that difficult in this case. The National Coalition for History (NCH), which includes the AHA and more than 60 other history-related organizations, asks you to urge your member of the House of Representatives to support the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (S. 1177).
Click here for a link that allows you to send an e-mail directly to your member of the House of Representatives and urge him or her to support the conference report that includes key provisions that benefit history and civics education.
The House will vote first on S. 1177, the “Every Student Succeeds Act.” While the Senate is likely to pass the bill, the House’s recent internal conflicts over leadership make predictions more difficult. Although the bill cleared the House-Senate conference committee by an overwhelming bi-partisan majority of 38-1, its passage by the House is by no means a foregone conclusion. Politics unrelated to the underlying merits of the bill may still derail it. So it is vital that all representatives, Republicans and Democrats, receive the message loud and clear from their constituents that the education of our nation’s K-12 students is too important to be held hostage to partisan politics and gridlock.
The AHA limits these kinds of legislative “action alerts” to situations and issues that are vital to the interests of our members. Congress has not reauthorized the ESEA in 15 years so this legislation is our only opportunity to get funding restored for K-12 history and civics education. This bill is not perfect. But it is the best chance we have for federal funding for the professional development that is so important to our K-12 social studies teachers.
The bill is expected to go to the House floor on December 2. Time is of the essence so call or email today!
How to Contact Your Representative
Please call or e-mail your House member’s office and urge them to support restoring 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 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) 224-3121. If you feel comfortable doing so, a personal phone call is preferable to an email. If you are not sure who your Representative is you can follow this link to the House’s website and enter your zip code which will provide a link to your member’s website.
Send an e-mail. The National Coalition for History, 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 email template that can be edited to personalize your message. The message not only goes to your member’s e-mail, but his or her Twitter account and Facebook page as well.
Thank you for your support of history education at all levels,
AHA Executive Director
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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