Resolution Supporting United States History Education Exposed
The Resolution Supporting United States History Education was adopted by ALEC's Education Task Force at the Annual Meeting in July, 2005, approved by the ALEC Board of Directors in August, 2005. A nearly identical bill is available on ALEC.org, any words removed from the original version are given in
strikethrough text and additions are given in bold. (Accessed on 9/15/2015).
ALEC Bill Text
Expressing the sense of the Legislature regarding the importance and value of education in United States history.
WHEREAS, basic knowledge of United States history is essential to full and informed participation in civic life and to the larger vibrancy of the American experiment in self-government;
WHEREAS, basic knowledge of the past serves as a civic glue, binding together a diverse people into a single Nation with a common purpose and empowers meaningful civic participation;
WHEREAS, citizens who lack knowledge of United States history will also lack an understanding and appreciation of the democratic principles that define and sustain the
Nation Republic as a free people, such as liberty, justice, government by the consent of the governed, and equality under the law;
WHEREAS, a survey by
the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut GfkRoper commissioned by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni reveals that the next generation of American leaders and citizens is in danger of losing America’s memory of the historic foundations and its understanding of American institutions of government;
WHEREAS, the survey found that
81 over 80 percent of seniors at elite colleges and universities recent college graduates could not answer basic high school level questions concerning United States history, that scarcely more than half knew general information about American democracy and the Constitution, and that only 22 that less than 40% could correctly identify the term lengths of members of the U.S. Congress, and less than 18 percent could identify the source of the most famous line of the Gettysburg Address;
WHEREAS, many of the Nation’s colleges and universities no longer require United States history as a prerequisite to graduation, including 100 percent of the top institutions of higher education listed by U.S. News & World Report;
WHEREAS, 90 percent of the Nation’s top colleges and universities no longer require the study of any form of history at all;
WHEREAS, America’s colleges and universities are leading bellwethers of national priorities and values, setting standards for the whole of the United States’ education system and sending signals to students, teachers, parents, and public schools about what every educated citizen in a democratic republic must know;
WHEREAS, many of America’s most distinguished historians and intellectuals have expressed alarm about the growing historical illiteracy of college and university graduates and the consequences for the Nation; and
WHEREAS, distinguished historians and intellectuals fear that without a common memory and understanding of the courageous individuals, events, and ideals that have shaped the Nation, people in the United States risk losing much of what it means to be an American, as well as the ability to fulfill the fundamental responsibilities of citizens in a democratic republic;
WHEREAS, the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate have unanimously called upon state officials responsible for higher education to review public college and university curricula in their states and promote requirements in United States history;
Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Legislature, That it is the sense of the Legislature of the State of [insert STATE] that –
1) the historical illiteracy of America’s college and university graduates is a serious problem that should be addressed by the Nation’s higher education community;
2) boards of trustees and administrators at institutions of higher education in the state of [insert STATE] should review their curricula and ensure requirements in United States history that are broad-based and provide exposure to America’s founding documents;
3) State officials responsible for higher education should review public college and university curricula in the state of [insert STATE] and promote requirements in United States history;
4) parents should encourage their children to select institutions of higher education with substantial history requirements and students should take courses in United States history whether required or not; and
5) history teachers and educators at all levels should redouble their efforts to bolster the knowledge of United States history among students of all ages and to restore the vitality of America’s historical memory.
Adopted by the Education Task Force at the Annual Meeting, July 2005.
Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors August 2005.