SC lawmakers want to stress importance of America’s founding documents to students


COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- South Carolina lawmakers are looking at changing the curriculum for students. We’ve seen the progression of a bill that requires a financial literacy class and now lawmakers are working on a proposal to get students more aware of government and how it works.

The Constitution, Federalist Papers, and the Declaration of Independence are a few terms many of us are familiar with, but very few know what those documents state and mean. That’s why SC lawmakers are working on a proposal that makes sure those teachings are included in state curriculum at both at the k-12 and college levels.

Tuesday morning the House Education and Public Works Subcommittee met to discuss potential changes to school curriculum. The proposal requires schools to teach students basic but essential knowledge about United States government.

When you look at the studies and talk to people about their knowledge of the government they have a very little knowledge of that,” said Representative Garry Smith, who filed a similar bill in 2015 in the House.

The proposal adds the study of the Emancipation Proclamation to a statute already requiring high school students to have at least one year of instruction on the Constitution, Federalist Papers, and the Declaration of Independence. It’s an addition some subcommittee members feel is needed, but needs to be enhanced.

Representative Wendy Brawley explained, “There is a perception that African American contributions are limited to the Emancipation Proclamation. There is a body of history that involves Reconstruction papers that tell a different story. So I’m wondering where that is?”

Supporters of the proposal say the lessons will help students become better citizens and future leaders.

Representative Smith continued, “When you look at issues and how we impact everyday life of most people in the United States and our citizens. It’s important for them to know how that works.”

Christina Jeffrey with the National Association of Scholars echoed Rep. Smith’s claims. “Our nation’s future leaders can not be expected to serve effectively if they lack the essential knowledge of the country they serve.”

The proposal also requires college students to take at least 3 semester credit hours on those topics; reading the documents in their entirety and passing a comprehensive exam in order to graduate.

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