The Educating for American Democracy (EAD) Implementation Consortium, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), is delighted to announce the recipients of its $600,000 2023 K-5 pilot implementation projects funding opportunity. The projects selected through the competitive RFP process represent a diverse group of organizations and schools from across the country on initiatives aligned with the EAD Roadmap for high-quality K-12 history and civics education. Educators in the elementary grades are in particular need of high-quality resources and support for history and civic learning. We need to better equip our K-5 teaching corps with the pedagogical skills and content knowledge needed to enable younger students to arrive at secondary school with grounding and an inquisitive mindset towards civics and history. The selected projects represent a vital investment in and step forward for addressing that need and setting our younger learners up for success.
The following applicants were selected:
- Wisconsin Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #1, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Region 10 Comprehensive Center, and Wisconsin’s 11 other regional CESAs
- Digital Inquiry Group, in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District
- Georgia Council for the Social Studies, in partnership with Georgia Center for Civic Engagement and the Georgia Department of Education
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, in partnership with New York City Public School 51, Elias Howe School
- University of Missouri, Saint Louis, in partnership with the School District of University City, Missouri
These five projects will cumulatively reach over 900,000 students throughout the country. Selected grantee activities include: designing K-5 curricular resources aligned with both the EAD Roadmap and state standards; offering EAD-aligned curriculum implementation supports and professional learning opportunities; and developing and delivering EAD-aligned programming for schools in a museum context. Projects include ongoing partnerships with classroom teachers, including supporting teacher leaders and co-design of resources with educators.Across these five projects, all seven of the EAD Roadmap‘s content themes will be addressed. All projects will serve educators and students from underserved communities around the country.
“Elementary grade-level history, civics, and social studies classes are the foundations that ensure young people develop the knowledge and skills needed to sustain a healthy democracy. We know grades K-5 are most in need of high-quality history and civics educational materials, and research consistently shows that the impact of the lack of social studies education falls most heavily on economically disadvantaged communities,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “NEH is proud to support the Educating for American Democracy pilot programs through the agency’s ongoing American Tapestry initiative. With these pilots, we have an opportunity to address educational gaps and expand access to important civics and history education materials for our youngest learners, especially those in underserved communities.”
“We were incredibly pleased with the interest we received in this funding opportunity from organizations of all kinds around the country. It was heartening to see the excitement about the EAD Roadmap from teachers, education providers, institutions of higher education, and community learning partners like museums and historical societies. The selected projects will provide an array of exciting opportunities for elementary students and teachers–from developing skills to access and analyze primary sources to considering questions of shared community responsibility as experienced by crew members of a navy ship throughout history,” said Danielle Allen, EAD Principal Investigator and Implementation Consortium member, and James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University.
Diana Owen of Georgetown University’s Civic Education Research Lab will lead an evaluation of the projects, culminating in a final report to be released in December, 2024. “Considering the urgency of high-quality civics and history education starting in the earliest grades, combined with EAD’s potential to strengthen what elementary students learn in these vital fields, careful evaluation of these ambitious and varied pilot projects will inform subsequent applications of this very promising Roadmap,” noted Chester E. Finn, Jr., president emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and EAD Implementation Consortium member. This report will provide valuable learnings to the fields of history and civic education through pictures of practice for developing resources and implementing EAD in the elementary grades.
Educating for American Democracy (EAD) is an unprecedented effort that convened a diverse group of scholars and educators to create a Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy—an inquiry framework that states, local school districts, and educators can use to transform teaching of history and civics to meet the needs of a diverse 21st century K–12 student body. EAD is a call to action to invest in strengthening history and civic learning, and to ensure that civic learning opportunities are delivered equitably throughout the country.
The EAD Initiative was initially funded (2018-2021) by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education through a grant to iCivics in collaboration with Harvard University, Tufts University, CIRCLE, and Arizona State University. A current funding renewal from the National Endowment for the Humanities supports this project. “We are honored to have received continuous support across presidential administrations,” said Louise Dube, EAD Principal Investigator and Chair of the Implementation Consortium, and CEO of iCivics.
First proposed in July 2019, the initiative brought together a national network of more than 300 scholars, classroom educators from every grade level, practitioners, and students from a diversity of viewpoints, demographics, and roles, who pooled their expertise to create a strategy for providing excellent history and civics to all students. You can learn more about the individuals who contributed to the Roadmap here.
The current implementation phase for EAD is led by the Implementation Consortium. The Implementation Consortium serves as centers for excellence for EAD implementation that support long-term realization of the vision of EAD for our nation by sponsoring exemplary projects that achieve implementation with integrity of the EAD Roadmap in domains such as curriculum, professional development, civic learning plans, state standards, and research.