Salt Lake City, UT – The Hatch Center – the policy arm of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation – hosted a virtual symposium Thursday to highlight commonsense solutions to our nation’s civics crisis. The webinar coincided with the publication of a nonpartisan report published by the Hatch Center Policy Review that outlines a blueprint to recenter civics at the heart of America’s education system. David Davenport – the Hatch Foundation visiting scholar and a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution – presented key findings from the report before joining a panel of business and community leaders to discuss ways to improve civic literacy in Utah and across the country. At the conclusion of the webinar, Hatch Foundation Chairman Emeritus Orrin Hatch and Executive Director Matt Sandgren issued the following statements:
“Many policymakers are waking up to the fact that civic education is in critical need of reform,” said Hatch. “But just how to reform it is another question. To answer that question, the Hatch Center partnered with David Davenport of Stanford’s Hoover Institution to outline concrete policy proposals to address America’s civics crisis. Failing to address this crisis is not an option. Why? Because at stake is nothing less than the life and well-being of our democracy.”
“There is building bipartisan consensus that American civics is in a bad way,” said Sandgren. “That’s why today, we convened a panel of community leaders to discuss a path forward on civics. In addition to highlighting state-focused reforms, we put flesh on the bones of a bipartisan policy proposal to reinvigorate civic education on a national level. Among other initiatives, we call for a 100-fold increase in federal funding for civic education, a radical rethinking of civics testing and instruction, and a renewed dedication to teaching American history in a fair and honest way.”
Following remarks from David Davenport, Matt Sandgren moderated a Q&A discussion with state policymakers and education leaders, featuring insights from: Representative Brad Wilson, the Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives; Jesselie B. Anderson, a member of the Utah Board of Higher Education and a former high school history teacher; Brad Mortensen, the President of Weber State University; and Senator Ann Millner, the Assistant Majority Whip in the Utah Senate.
To learn more about the Hatch Center’s efforts to revitalize American civic education, read David Davenport’s op-ed in The Washington Examiner. You can also read the Hatch Center’s full report on civics, by clicking here. To see an executive summary, click here.