Text: S.2024 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (06/27/2019)


116th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 2024


To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve the American History for Freedom grant program.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 27, 2019

Mr. Cornyn (for himself and Mr. Coons) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve the American History for Freedom grant program.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Understanding and Studying American Civics Act of 2019 ” or the “USA Civics Act of 2019”.

SEC. 2. American Civics Education Program.

Section 805 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1161e) is amended—

(1) in the section heading, by striking “history for freedom” and inserting “civics education program”;

(2) in subsection (a)—

(A) by striking “subsection (f)” and inserting “subsection (g)”;

(B) by striking “the Secretary is authorized to award three-year grants, on a competitive basis,” and inserting “the Secretary is authorized to award grants, once every 3 years and on a competitive basis,”;

(C) by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following:

“(1) American political thought and history;”;

(D) in paragraph (2) by striking “or” after the semicolon;

(E) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

“(3) the history, achievements, and impact of American representative democracy and constitutional democracies globally; or”; and

(F) by adding at the end the following:

“(4) the means of participation in political and civic life.”;

(3) in subsection (b)—

(A) in paragraph (1), by striking “as defined in section 101.” and inserting “, or a partnership that includes an institution of higher education and one or more nonprofit organizations, whose missions and demonstrated expertise are consistent with the purpose of this section.”;

(B) in paragraph (2), by striking “that emerged” and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting “founded on the principles of representative democracy, constitutional government, individual rights, market economics, religious freedom and religious tolerance, and freedom of thought and inquiry.”; and

(C) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

“(3) AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT AND HISTORY.—The term ‘American political thought and history’ means—

“(A) the significant constitutional, political, intellectual, economic, social, and foreign policy trends and issues that have shaped the course of American history; and

“(B) the key episodes, turning points, texts, and figures involved in the constitutional, political, intellectual, diplomatic, social, and economic history of the United States.”;

(4) in subsection (c)(2)—

(A) in subparagraph (A), by striking “traditional” and all that follows through the semicolon and inserting “American political thought and history, free institutions, the impact of American representative democracy and constitutional democracies globally, or the means of participation in political and civic life;”; and

(B) in subparagraph (B), by inserting “, which may include the creation or use of open educational resources” after “subsection (e)(1)(B)”;

(5) in subsection (d)—

(A) by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following:

“(1) increase access to quality programming that expands knowledge of American political thought and history, free institutions, the impact of American representative democracy and constitutional democracies globally, or the means of participation in political and civic life;”; and

(B) in paragraph (2), by striking “traditional American history, free institutions, or Western civilization” and inserting “American political thought and history, free institutions, the impact of American representative democracy and constitutional democracies globally, or the means of participation in political and civic life.”;

(6) by striking subsection (e) and inserting the following:

“(e) Use of funds.—

“(1) REQUIRED USE OF FUNDS.—Funds provided under this section shall be used—

“(A) to establish or strengthen academic programs or centers focused on American political thought and history, free institutions, the impact of American representative democracy and constitutional democracies globally, or the means of participation in political and civic life, which may include—

“(i) design and implementation of programs of study, courses, lecture series, seminars, and symposia;

“(ii) development, publication, and dissemination of instructional materials;

“(iii) research;

“(iv) support for faculty teaching in undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate programs; or

“(v) support for graduate and postgraduate fellowships, if applicable; or

“(B) for teacher preparation initiatives that stress content mastery regarding American political thought and history, free institutions, the impact of American representative democracy and constitutional democracies globally, or the means of participation in political and civic life;

“(C) for collaboration with local educational agencies for the purpose of providing elementary school and secondary school teachers an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of American political thought and history, free institutions, the impact of American representative democracy and constitutional democracies globally, or the means of participation in political and civic life; and

“(D) to conduct outreach activities to ensure that information about the activities funded under this section is widely disseminated—

“(i) to undergraduate students (including students enrolled in teacher education programs, if applicable);

“(ii) to graduate students (including students enrolled in teacher education programs, if applicable);

“(iii) to faculty;

“(iv) to local educational agencies; and

“(v) within the local community.

“(2) ALLOWABLE USES OF FUNDS.—Funds provided under this section may be used to support—

“(A) collaboration with entities such as—

“(i) nonprofit organizations whose missions and demonstrated expertise are consistent with the purpose of this section, for assistance in carrying out activities described under subsection (a); and

“(ii) Federal or State humanities programs, which may include those funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities;

“(B) the creation and use of open educational resources on American political thought and history, free institutions, or the impact of American representative democracy and constitutional democracies globally, or the means of participation in political and civic life; and

“(C) other activities that meet the purposes of this section.”;

(7) by redesignating subsection (f) as subsection (g);

(8) in subsection (g), as redesignated by paragraph (7), by striking “2009” and inserting “2020”; and

(9) by inserting after subsection (e) the following:

“(f) Rule of construction.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the Secretary to prescribe an American political thought and history curriculum.”.