Rep. Garry Smith: So. Carolina Higher Ed Failing to Teach Constitution

"You wonder how [millenials] got such a warped sense of governance.”

As reported by The Daily Caller, Clemson University, as well as other colleges in South Carolina, are not teaching the United States Constitution or other founding American documents, despite the legal requirement to do so. This is of grave concern to South Carolina Representative Garry Smith.

According to South Carolina’s statute 59-29-120:

“All high schools, colleges, and universities in this State that are sustained or in any manner supported by public funds shall give instruction in the essentials of the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers.”

The statute specifies that our country’s founding documents should be taught “for at least one year of the high school, college and university grades, respectively.” Furthermore:

“Willful neglect or failure…shall be sufficient cause for the dismissal or removal of such person from his position.”

Despite the state’s requirement, Clemson has no such requirement, while requiring three credit hours per student of “cross cultural awareness.”

As revealed by a 2015 survey of institutions of higher learning, 42 percent of Clemson students never take a course on the founding documents of the U.S. In fact, several schools fail to require the study of founding documents for one year. Those include University of South Carolina (USC), Clemson University, The Citadel, College of Charleston, Francis Marion University, Lander University, SC State, and Winthrop.

Perplexingly, USC President Harris Pastides contends that, to comply with the legal requirement, would cause “an academic logjam.”  

Representative Smith says there is a high cost to the lack of compliance, and that universities seem to believe they needn’t adhere to the provision:

“One of the problems we have is that those students who graduate aren’t really prepared to be good citizens in a representative democracy. The Higher Education Commission is supposed to fire the president of the university, which it can’t do. That’s a problem with the current law. [Colleges] have gotten the feeling that they’re independent to the point that they don’t even comply with — and they’re not a part of — the state overall financial system.”

Furthermore, regarding American millenials’ embrace of communism and socialism, Smith laments:

“It shows a lack of understanding about their representative republic. You wonder who is teaching them, what they’re teaching them, and how they got such a warped sense of governance.”

Issues

Organizations