Founding Principles Act

Founding Principles Act

Summary

The Founding Principles Act would require during the high school years the teaching of a semester-long course on the philosophical understandings and the founders’ principles, which are the foundation of our form of government for a free people, as incorporated in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Federalist Papers.

Model Legislation

Section 1. {Title.} Founding Principles Act.

Section 2. {Findings.} The legislature finds and declares:

Whereas, the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787 were seminal events in the history of the United States, the Declaration of Independence providing the philosophical foundation on which the nation rests, and the Constitution of the United States providing its structure of government; and

Whereas, the Federalist Papers embody the most eloquent and forceful argument made in support of the adoption of our republican form of government; and

Whereas, these documents, along with the writings of the Founders, stand as the foundation of our form of democracy, providing at the same time the touchstone of our national identity and the vehicle for orderly growth and change; and

Whereas, these Founding Documents established a set of principles, known as the Founders’ Principles, which are the heart and soul of a government for a free society; and

Whereas, these principles enabled a group of 13 colonies to become the greatest and most powerful nation on earth in a relatively short period of time; and

Whereas, most Americans do not know about nor understand the timely and timeless importance of these principles to our form of government and to their current lives; and

Whereas, the survival of the republic requires that our nation’s children, the future guardians of its heritage and participants in its governance, have a clear understanding of these principles and the importance of their preservation.

Now therefore, the State enacts the following:

Section 3. {Main provisions.}

(A) Local boards of education shall require during the high school years the teaching of a semester course on:

(1) the philosophical foundations of our form of government, and

(2) the principles underlying the Declaration of Independence , the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the writings of the Founders, which are the principles of government for a free people and are known as the” Founders’ Principles.

(B) Local boards of education shall include among the requirements for graduation from high school a passing grade in a semester course on the principles underlying the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Federalist Papers.

(C) The State Board of Education shall require that any curriculum-based tests administrated statewide beginning with [insert appropriate dates] academic year include questions related to the principles underlying the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the most important arguments of the Federalist Papers.

(D) The State Department of Public Instruction [or other appropriate department] and the local boards of education, as appropriate, shall provide curriculum content for the semester course and teacher training to ensure that the intent and provisions of this subsection are carried out.

(E) The Department of Public Instruction [or other appropriate department] shall submit a biennial report to the General Assembly covering:

(1) the implementation of this subsection; and

(2) the statewide student results from the State curriculum-based tests administered in accordance with subdivision 3 of this subsection.

Section 4. {Severability clause.}

Section 5. {Repealer clause.}

Section 6. {Effective date.}

Approved by the ALEC Legislative Board of Directors on June 3, 2010.

Keyword Tags: Curriculum

Task Forces