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SC bill: Teach US ‘founding principles’ in high school

S.C. lawmakers may make it law that high-school students must be taught the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents of the country.

Those topics would include the Federalist Papers, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, the role of the separation of powers and the structure of government, according to the bill.

State education standards already require those topics be taught in a U.S. History and Constitution class, a state Education Department spokesperson told a Senate panel Tuesday.

The bill, approved by a Senate K-12 education panel Tuesday, would prevent the topics from ever being removed from state education standards.

Sponsored by state Rep. Chip Huggins, R-Lexington, the legislation is part of a push to put a greater emphasis on teaching civics in public schools, based on the belief that U.S. citizens lack knowledge about the country’s government and history.

“We don't have anything that really requires that at this point,” Huggins said.

State lawmakers passed a similar civics-related bill last year.

Starting next school year, high-school students will be required to take a 100-question civics test that applicants for U.S. citizenship take to demonstrate their knowledge of U.S. history and government.

However, students are not required to pass the test.

Citing the need for his bill, Huggins said he was shocked by a Newsweek poll finding 44 percent of Americans surveyed could not define the Bill of Rights.

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