Free Enterprise Education Act

Free Enterprise Education Act

Summary

The Free Enterprise Education Act mandates instruction in the free enterprise system, a course that requires an interdisciplinary study of economics, political science, history, geography, culture, and current events. This Act requires a stand-alone course in the free enterprise system that lasts at least one semester and a passing grade in order to receive a certificate or diploma of graduation.

Model Policy

Section 1. {Title.} This Act shall be known as the Free Enterprise Education Act.

Section 2. {Purpose.} The purpose and intent of this Act are:

(A) To require all public school students to receive instruction in the free enterprise system during high school as a stand-alone course lasting at least one semester; and

(B) To require a passing grade in the course;in order to receive a certificate or diploma of graduation.

Section 3. {Findings.} The legislature finds and declares that:

(A) A flourishing economy arises from private sector initiative and entrepreneurship working in a free market protected by the rule of law and nurtured by limited government that guarantees private ownership rights, economic liberty, and equality of opportunity. The foundation of a growing national economy, the free enterprise system creates wealth, jobs, and prosperity and sustains political stability.

(B) The American free enterprise system depends on well-educated citizens. Today, too many students in the United States do not understand the basic characteristics of the free enterprise system and its importance to economic growth and the creation of wealth and jobs. These students do not understand the free enterprise system’s central role in the tremendous economic growth experienced in the United States since its founding, as well as the challenges faced by individuals, companies, and entrepreneurs in establishing, building, and managing a business and their contributions to American society.

(C) Most efforts by federal and state governments have generally focused on economics and personal financial literacy, but a full and complete understanding of the American free enterprise system requires a diligent study of not only economics and personal finance but also other disciplines, including history, political science, geography, culture, and current events.

(D) According to the Council of Economic Education’s most recent Survey of the States, titled Economic, Personal Finance & Entrepreneurship Education in Our Nation’s Schools in 2009, twenty-one (21) states now require an economics course as a high school graduation requirement while thirteen (13) states require students to take personal finance (individually or as a component of an economics course) as a high school graduation requirement. Four (4) states require a course in entrepreneurship as a component of a high school course (usually economics) in order to graduate.

(E) These efforts have met with limited success. The Nation’s Report Card, the most recent test of students in economics at grade 12 in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, shows the overall average economics score to be at the Basic achievement level on a three-tiered system of Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.

(F) Although the United States Congress provides funds to promote student economic and personal financial literacy through the Excellence in Economic Education Act (20 U.S.C. §§ 7267a-7267f), the Act focuses narrowly upon the promotion of economic and personal financial literacy, rather than a study of the American free enterprise system, which requires an interdisciplinary study of economics, political science, history, geography, culture, and current events.

(G) In recent years, Americans have endured difficult economic circumstances, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs, businesses, and homes. Only a vibrant free enterprise system can meet the challenge our nation faces to revive the economy, to restore the millions of jobs lost, and to create the millions of new jobs needed in coming years simply to track population growth. Students should have a thorough understanding of the crucial role the American free enterprise system has played, and can continue to play, in achieving economic growth and prosperity and political stability in the United States.

(H) The study of the free enterprise system is critical to the development of students as productive citizens who understand the American economic and political system and the critical and central role of American business and entrepreneurs in the creation of wealth, jobs, and economic growth and prosperity.

Section 4. {Administration of Course.}

(A) Instruction in the free enterprise system shall be provided in a course lasting at least one semester during high school.

(B) Beginning with students entering high school in [insert year] school year, such students shall be required to fulfill the free enterprise requirement in Section 4(A) and sustain a passing grade in the course in order to receive a certificate or diploma of graduation.

(C) The State Board of Education [or other appropriate State Agency] shall adopt free enterprise content standards consistent with this Act.

(D) The State Board of Education [or other appropriate State or Local Agency] shall determine or otherwise develop the curriculum that shall include, at a minimum, the areas of instruction designated in Section 5. In carrying out this paragraph, the State Board of Education [or other appropriate State or Local Agency] may contract with one or more organizations that have expertise in the development of standards and curriculum in the areas of instruction designated in section 5.

(E) The State Board of Education [or other appropriate State or Local Agency] shall carry out appropriate professional development training. In carrying out this paragraph, the State Board of Education [or other appropriate State or Local Agency] may contract with one or more organizations that have expertise in the areas of instruction designated in Section 5.

(F) Beginning in year [insert year], any statewide curriculum-based tests shall include questions on the free enterprise system.

(G) Not later than 18 months after enactment, the State Department of Education [or other appropriate State Agency] shall submit a report to the legislature on implementation of this Act.

Section 5. {Areas of Instruction.} At a minimum, the following areas of instruction shall be included in the free enterprise course:

(A) The basic characteristics of a free enterprise system, including the roles played by the rule of law, private property ownership, profit and loss, competition and regulation, supply and demand, consumers and producers, and technological innovation in creating and sustaining a free enterprise system.

(B) The benefits of economic growth, wealth creation, and technological innovation and the role played by the free enterprise system in achieving these benefits as compared to other economic systems.

(C) The importance of the rule of law, private ownership rights, economic liberty, and equality of opportunity to the free enterprise system, and the role of the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence in preserving these rights and freedoms.

(D) The impact of government spending, regulations, and tax, monetary, and trade policies upon economic growth, entrepreneurship, productivity, and technological innovation.

(E) The opportunities presented by, and the challenges of, starting a business.

Section 6. {Severability clause.}

Section 7. {Repealer clause.}

Section 8. {Effective Date.}

Approved by full ALEC Legislative Board of Directors October 13, 2011.

Keyword Tags: Curriculum, Education Task Force

Task Forces