Alexander Pushes Civics Bill

Posted on April 13, 2005

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Tuesday he is hopeful his bill promoting history and civics education will win approval in committee when it comes up for a vote today. Sen. Alexander said the proposed American History and Civics Act would create summer academies to train teachers in history and civics and educate promising students in the two subjects. The legislation would set aside $25 million annually over a four-year period for the academies. The bill is based on a Tennessee program under Sen. Alexander when he served as governor in the 1980s. The bill's co-sponsors include U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. Sen. Kennedy is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where the bill will be considered today. Sens. Alexander and Frist also serve on the panel. At a reception Tuesday for Te nnessee visitors to Washington, D.C., Sen. Frist said his desire to promote the teaching of history and civics is "my favorite topic." Tennessee Secretary of State Riley Darnell, a Democrat attending the reception, said he thinks Sen. Alexander's proposal is a good idea. "We've gotten away from understanding our history," he said.