Lawmakers in South Carolina are considering a bill that would use former President Trump’s 1776 report to help develop the U.S. history curriculum for public middle and high school students, WCSC reports.
The Restore America’s Foundation Act would require South Carolina’s State Superintendent of Education to “review and prescribe suitable texts and online materials aligned with the principles and concepts of the January 2021 report of the 1776 Commission.”
South Carolina State Sen. Dwight Loftis (R) sponsored the legislation.
“We have, in today’s society, a lot of disrespect for the flag, the national anthem, and that sort of thing,” Loftis said, according to WCSC. “The knowledge of where we came from and why our forefathers did what they did, I think it’s important that we know.”
The proposed legislation also requires a minimum of 30 hours of classroom instruction on U.S. history every year for students grades six through 12. The bill has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.
Trump established the 1776 Commission in an apparent response to The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, which focused on the country’s history of slavery and racism. The former president claimed the 1619 Project taught students to “hate their own country” and tasked his 1776 Commission to release a report to promote a “patriotic education” in schools.
The report, which was released on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, criticized critical race theory and pushed back against critiques the Founding Fathers were “hypocrites” for defending slavery.
The Trump administration called the report a “definitive chronicle of the American founding,” and a “rebuttal of reckless ‘re-education’ attempts that seek to reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exception country but an evil one.”
“Historical revisionism…tramples honest scholarship and historical truth, shames Americans by highlighting only the sins of their ancestors, and teaches claims of systemic racism that can only be eliminated by more discrimination, is an ideology intended to manipulate opinions more than educate minds,” the report stated.
The report was sharply criticized by historians and civil rights groups and President Biden signed an executive order shortly after his inauguration rescinding the 1776 Commission. The Biden-Harris transition team earlier this year accused the commission of attempting to “erase America’s history of racial injustice.”
Loftis told WCSC the focus of the legislation is more on the founding documents, not entirely the report. State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said she’s in support of the bill as most concepts in the report are already being taught in schools, the outlet reports.
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