Teaching American History and Civic Education
All Americans must have a complete understanding of our history to be effective and engaged citizens in our democratic society. Yet according to the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Education Progress study, which tracks both Civics and American History understanding among K-12 students, less than one quarter of America's students are proficient in either subject.
On September 17, 2002, President George W. Bush observed the 215th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution by announcing new policies and initiatives to support the teaching of American History and Civics and provide Americans with greater access to some of our country’s national treasures.
To illustrate the good work being done as part of the President’s initiative, USA Freedom Corps is highlighting the Civics and American History projects offered by the Administration’s agencies and programs. Together, we are working to keep the foundation of our great Nation strong.
Corporation for National & Community Service
National Service Learning Clearinghouse
The Learn and Serve America National Service-Learning Clearinghouse supports individuals and organizations interested in service-learning research and resources. Information and materials are pertinent to higher education, schools, community-based initiatives and tribal programs, as well as all others interested in strengthening schools and communities using service-learning techniques and methodologies. Included on the site are links to help teachers link history with civic engagement and service activities.
Presidential Freedom Scholarships
The Presidential Freedom Scholarship program is designed to highlight and promote service and citizenship by students and to recognize students for their leadership in those areas. Through the program, each high school in the country may select up to two students - juniors or seniors - to receive a $1,000 scholarship in recognition of outstanding leadership in service to their community.
U.S. Department of Education
Teaching American History Grant Program
The U.S. Department of Education, through its Teaching American History grant program, has awarded nearly $250 million to 288 local school districts to provide teachers with high quality professional development in traditional American history subject content.
National Archives and Records Administration
Teaching With Documents: Observing Constitution Day
On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created. The National Archives and Records Administration celebrates this important day in our nation's history by presenting activities, lesson plans, and information. We encourage teachers and students at all levels to learn more about our Constitution and government.
The Charters of Freedom: A New World is at Hand
Presenting a selection of milestone documents, this exhibition chronicles the creation of the Charters of Freedom—the Declaration if Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights—in the 18th century and their impact on the course of history in the United States and around the world. We invite you to visit this exhibit in person at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and online!
The National Archives invites you to explore 100 milestone documents of American history that reflect our diversity and our unity, our past and our future, and our commitment as a nation to strive to "form a more perfect union."
National Endowment for the Humanities
“We the People,” an initiative administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), includes competitive grant programs and other public programs to support the teaching of American history and civics. At the President's direction, the effort started in 2003 and with a significant, multi-year investment.
We the People Bookshelf
The We the People Bookshelf is a set of classic books for young readers from Kindergarten through high school. Each year NEH identifies a theme important to the nation's heritage and selects books that embody that theme. This collection of theme-related books is the Bookshelf. In addition to introducing young readers to good literature, the Bookshelf promotes understanding of abstract or general ideas through the power of particular stories.
American History Teacher Lesson Plans
NEH provides more than 200 lesson plans for teachers through a special web-site.
We the People Grant Program
NEH announces We the People grant opportunities for scholars, teachers, filmmakers, curators and librarians.
National Museum of American History
Separate Is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education
Marking the 50-year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision that helped to end segregation in public schools, this site examines the Brown v. Board of Education case and shows why it represented a turning point in the history of race relations in the United States. Learn about the history of segregation and meet the key players who fought to legally overturn it. The site includes a bibliography, resources for teachers, and a Reflections area where visitors may tell their own stories.
A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution
This Web site examines the events surrounding Japanese American internment during World War II. Topics include prewar Japanese American immigration and culture, detention camps and the internment process, Japanese American wartime service, and postwar court cases and eventual redress. Experience the history, search through more than 800 related artifacts, or share your thoughts on a related topic.
The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden
This exhibition tells the story of the American presidency through objects representing the lives and times of the country's presidents. Topics include an examination of the President's many roles, life in the White House, and life after the presidency. The site includes an interactive timeline of Presidents, hands-on activities, reference resources, teacher materials, and more.