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US history, gov’t class for NC college students passes House

Abhi Sharma

Passing a U.S. history or government class would become a graduation requirement for future North Carolina public university and community college students in legislation approved Wednesday by the state House.

Mandate supporters say it’s needed for young people to boost understanding of the branches of government and other American principles, as well as the nation’s successes and failures. A civics course is already needed by public high school students.

The proposal would require class students to take an exam based on several documents, including the U.S. and state constitutions, Federalist Papers essays and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The bill passed on a largely party-line vote of 69-47 favoring Republicans and now heads to the Senate. Some House Democrats spoke against the bill, saying they were concerned about legislators getting too detailed in curriculum or placing the mandate on community college students getting job training quickly.

The mandate would begin with first-year students in the 2024-2025 school year. Exemptions are available for students who pass Advanced Placement or similar tests.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors or the State Board of Community Colleges could remove the top leader at campuses where the mandate isn’t carried out.