Wednesday, August 24, 2011

North Carolina Mandates Teaching of Founding Era in Public Schools

Last year Fox News reported that North Carolina public schools were going to discontinue the history curriculum that pertains to our founding era; instead they were going to focus on the period after reconstruction, best known as the Progressive Era. The result was a resounding national backlash.

Because of that backlash, North Carolina passed into law the Founding Principles Act, as reported by Carolina Journal:

A bipartisan General Assembly approved House Bill 588, The Founding Principles Act, during the closing days of the main 2011 legislative session. As lawmakers engaged in partisan battles over more controversial measures, the House approved H.B. 588 106-5, and the Senate endorsed it 43-0. Gov. Beverly Perdue signed it into law June 23.

“The survival of the republic requires that our nation’s children, the future guardians of its heritage and participants in its governance, have a clear understanding of the Founding Philosophy and the Founding Principles of government for a free people,” according to the act’s preamble. The new law goes on to note that students will find the philosophy and principles “in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the writings of the Founders.”

The law specifically orders a semester-long course titled American History I - The Founding Principles. Students must pass the course to graduate from high school.

Ten specific principles earn special attention within the legislation: Creator-endowed inalienable rights of the people; the structure of government, separation of powers with checks and balances; frequent and free elections in a representative government; rule of law; equal justice under the law; private property rights; federalism; due process; individual rights as set forth in the Bill of Rights; and individual responsibility.

What I really wish is that the Anti-Federalist Papers would also be discussed, along with North Carolina’s Constitutional Convention debate. Students would be amazed at how right the Anti-Federalist was. But that is a pipe dream. Hell, if it weren’t for Fox News, students would think Woodrow Wilson was the first president of the United States.

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