Posted Wednesday July 10, 2019 by ffvfadmin


PA Civics formed to promote and expand

civics education in Pennsylvania

The bipartisan coalition includes former and current public officials
and organizations across the state, including Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

The Pennsylvania Delegation of the United States Association of Former Members of Congress announced the formation of a statewide, bipartisan coalition of former and current public officials and organizations interested in the promotion and expansion of civics education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Coalition’s name is PA Civics, and its lead nongovernmental organizations are:

United States Association of Former Members of Congress (USAMOC)

National Constitution Center

Senator John Heinz History Center

Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge

PA Council for the Social Studies

Pennsylvania Bar Association

Annenberg Public Policy Center

Committee of Seventy

Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement

The Former Member participating include Chris Carney, Jim Coyne, Phil English, Jim Gerlach, Melissa Hart, Joe Hoeffel, and Tim Holden. Current public officials include US District Court Judge John E. Jones III and York County Common Pleas Judge Todd Platts.

“Our coalition members are excited about the various ways PA Civics can help lead statewide efforts to promote civics education in our schools and communities in the coming years,” said former Congressman Jim Gerlach. “Great citizens are not born, they are made. We want to do all we can to help provide students and fellow citizens the knowledge, skills, and opportunities for action that will contribute to a more vibrant civic health in PA and our nation.”

The coalition’s initial work encompasses a support role for the state Department of Education as it begins to implement Act 35’s mandate to test the civic knowledge of students grades 8-12 beginning in the 2020-21 school year. PA Civics is focused on assisting the Education Department in assembling curriculum resources for civics teachers, establishing an ongoing professional teacher development program, and creating a recognition program for exemplary civics achievements by schools and educators.

The group agrees that the need for a renewed commitment to educate the next generation of Pennsylvanians on their civic rights and responsibilities has never been more urgent.

“When considering recent polling on various civics measures, time is of the essence for this increased focus on civics education,” said former Rep. Chris Carney. “For example, only 23% of high school students nationally achieved a grade of proficient on the last national civics assessment test. Our goal is to help these students become more educated and engaged citizens.”

Former Members play a meaningful and important role in the crusade for more and better civics education for all students. As is appropriate to the American tradition of state and local control of education policies, this effort will principally operate and succeed at the state and local levels.

Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge has played a leading role in civics education for tens of thousands of students and teachers from across the country since its founding in 1949 by Dwight Eisenhower and others in 1949.

For more information, please contact:

Jim Gerlach, former congressman, at 484-252-1626 or

Beth Specker, The Rendell Center, 484-568-3910 or