Gov. Lee to Provide Grants to Schools That Teach American History, Civic Values


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the launch of the Governor’s Civics Seal and mini-grant program to provide support and recognize schools and districts that prioritize teaching the nation’s history and civic values.

Lee made the statement through an announcement by the Tennessee Department of Education.

“I am proud to launch this initiative to inspire our Tennessee students to be civically engaged,” said Lee. “By providing strong civics programming in our schools, we are ensuring that future generations will build upon the incredible progress our state and country has made.”

Lee’s civics initiative made its way through the State House in March, The Tennessee Star reported.

Generally, the first co-prime sponsor of a bill in the House would be the Assistant Majority Leader, in this case, Representative Ron Gant (R-Rossville).

In the case of the Governor’s Civics Instructional Seal initiative, Assistant Leader Gant is carrying the legislation as HB 0944, which he said he was eager to do as he introduced the bill to the House Curriculum, Testing & Innovation Subcommittee.

Gant explained that the program is meant to highlight high quality civic education programs throughout the state and it will serve as a scoring apparatus to judge how well a school and district is teaching civics education, which he called “essential in preserving our constitutional democracy.”

Asking, rhetorically, why is this necessary, Gant responded, “Schools are insufficiently teaching students the basic principles of civics which is resulting in fewer and fewer individuals with basic institutional knowledge.”

Lee announced the Governor’s Civics Seal during his first State of the State address earlier this year, he said in his statement. He allocated $500,000 to support public schools and districts implementing high-quality civic education programs that result in readiness for college, career, and civic life. A portion of these funds will be used for the Governor’s Civics Seal mini-grants, which will be awarded to schools and districts across the state.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said, “Instilling strong civic values in our students is important to ensuring they are life-long learners and active citizens. I look forward to working with Governor Lee to award mini-grants to schools and districts that champion this initiative and provide opportunities for students to learn about our government.”

The Tennessee Department of Education will be using the funds in part to award mini-grants to schools and districts that provide programs, resources, and professional learning opportunities that emphasize civic learning. Schools and districts excelling at these initiatives will be able to earn the Governor’s Civics Seal in the 2020-21 school year.

At the school-level, the Governor’s Civics Seal mini-grants will be awarded to 20 rural and urban schools across Tennessee in the amount of $5,000 to $10,000. At the district-level, $15,000 will be awarded to 10 rural or urban schools across the state. The application window opens Friday, Oct. 25 and closes on Friday, Dec. 6.

The department will be offering an online training beginning Oct. 24 to provide more information to districts and schools on the Governor’s Civics Seal and associated mini-grants.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.






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6 Thoughts to “Gov. Lee to Provide Grants to Schools That Teach American History, Civic Values”

  1. Larry

    It’s no wonder why many of the students don’t know crap about this country. So much as been lost on education today.

    To many teachers IMO are injecting their own political (Liberal) views and distort the values of this country.

  2. William R. Delzell

    Who will define civic values? Will it be a mixture of people of the whole political spectrum, or will it only be right-wing extremists that define these values? Civics to me promotes the fundamental tenant of Americanism–its pluralism; not its xenophobia.

    As a History major, I want to be sure that the American History courses that the governor’s grant will support will give an honest account of the contributions by working class, the poor, the dissidents, racial/sexual minorities to our country. What I DON’T is a right-wing account that recognizes only wealthy white supremacists such as slave-holders, robber-barrons, etc. as the only contributors to U.S. History.

    I was fortunate when I attended Hillsboro High back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when we had progressive History and Social Science teachers who made sure to give credit to blacks and other previously disenfranchised groups in how they helped to build the U.S. and of the unfair prejudices they experience by the white ruling elite. We also discussed advanced ancient civilizations on the African, Asian, and Latin American continents and how they related to white activity in North America. Our U.S. History teacher, Ms. Mattie Pearl Regen, said something that has stuck to me ever since: she admitted that while she still had racial prejudice against non-whites, she also said she was WRONG to have these prejudices, and that she was doing all she could to overcome these prejudices by learning all that she could about how their role was essential to the U.S.’s well being. I respect somebody who can not only be that honest, but who wants to correct herself and with sharing her new-found knowledge with her students so as to help her students overcome whatever prejudices they had before taking her class. It takes a special person to be that honest with her students. I took this class a few months after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, only 210 miles away from Nashville!

    1. 83ragtop50

      History and civics should be neither liberal or conservative. Historical facts should be taught and civics should concentrate on the constitution and laws. To add or deduct from these principles is nothing less than indoctrination.

    2. Edwin Benson

      Mr. Delzell, Where ever did you get the idea that teaching History has ever been ” right-wing account that recognizes only wealthy white supremacists such as slave-holders, robber-barons, etc. as the only contributors to U.S. History.”? You yourself related your experiences in a history class that was not like this. Do you have any evidence for your assertion? I taught history for 34 years and, even though my own politics are traditional, I never taught in that way – and I never heard of anybody else who did either.

  3. Russ

    While this is a good idea, the schools should be teaching this already.

    1. 83ragtop50

      The keyword in your comment is “should”. Unfortunately history is being rewritten to suit the so-called progressive agenda.