HB 588, the Founding Principles Act, passed out of the Senate Education Committee yesterday. The bill would require a civics education course based on the founding principles and philosophy of the United States, including the structure and purpose of government, the concept of rights, and discussion of many of the nation’s most important documents.
The legislation specifically encourages this class to include study of the North Carolina Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the writings and speeches of the Founding Fathers, among other sources. Legitimate sources with religious references could not be censored or discouraged, so long as the primary purpose of studying the document was not to promote its religious views.
The bill has already passed the House. If approved by the Senate and signed by the Governor, the course would be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year. Students would have to pass this course as a requirement for graduation.
Recent studies have shown a weakening grasp of basic civics among high school students. If implemented correctly, the Founding Principles Act could help reverse this situation in North Carolina.