Challenge 2026

Challenge 2026

  • Walter Isaacson, The Aspen Institute
  • Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento
  • Wendy Kopp, Founder, Teach For America
  • Charles Ring, Councilman (Edgewood, New Mexico)
  • Raj Thakkar, Charter School Business Management, Inc
  • Paul Baumann, Director, National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement, Education Commission of the States
  • Janet Barresi, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Sandra Balaban, Director of Strategic Learning Initiatives, Facing History and Ourselves
  • Jared Brueckner, VP of Development, National Math + Science Initiative
  • Maureen DiMarco, Former California Secretary of Education 1991-1996

I Support Challenge 2026.

American democracy depends on citizens who understand our constitutional system, appreciate our history and feel a sense of civic identity.

But we are failing.  We, as citizens, know too little about the Bill of Rights, the democratic process or the history of civil rights.  More than three of four high school seniors lack proficiency in both civics and U.S. history.  And among students suffering from racial and economic achievement gaps, proficiency is most lacking not in English or math, but in civics.

Civic illiteracy cripples our common culture, disenfranchises would-be voters and poisons our politics.

We can solve this problem and help perfect our union, starting with a simple national project: Challenge 2026.

By our nation’s 250th birthday all high-school graduates should be able to pass the U.S. Citizenship Test.

We—parents, educators, policy makers, philanthropists and citizens—recognize that American schools must prepare students not only for “college and career,” but for a lifetime of active citizenship. It’s for our children, for our country and for the very idea of government of, by, and for the people.

Robert Pondiscio, Executive Director

David Feith, Chairman