SC Law Requires Public Schools to Teach Constitution, Founding Principles

Great news! But how sad a bill was necessary to do so.

There's a new law in South Carolina which requires students to learn about the Constitution and the founding principles including "the structure of the government and the role of separation of powers and the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.”

The South Carolina Founding Principles Act, signed by Republican Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) in June, added the curriculum mandate to the state Board of Education graduation requirements. Now, students must take a year-long course and pass a test in order to graduate. 

As great as this sounds, it's strange that a law would have to be passed in order to teach such foundational subjects in public high school. Another concern might be how the subject matter is presented in, often times, progressive environments by left-leaning teachers. However, a stipulation was built in to the bill that requires schools to report in every two years to see how educators are teaching the documents in their classrooms, according to The Daily Signal. The report continues:

Furthermore, teachers will be provided with “professional development opportunities” to ensure the subject is being properly taught.

"A major part of forming future citizens capable of self-government is ensuring that they are properly educated in the founding documents of our nation,” Arthur Milikh, associate director for principles and politics at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email. “This was once common sense throughout America, but now we are forced to fight to ensure that even the most basic texts—the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence—are taught.”

Another important caveat in the law ensures that even when the standards are rewritten in the future, this course must remain.

The law reads:

“The student must pass a classroom examination on the provisions and principles of the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist papers, and American institutions and ideals. This instruction must be given for a period of at least one year or its equivalent, either within the required course U.S. History and Constitution or within another course.”

The requirement does not extend to South Carolina's public colleges, so whatever was learned by the high school graduate will be challenged the second his or her foot hits the campus freshman year.