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“REACH Act” Would Require Instruction in Founding Documents

UPDATE (3/27/24): The NC REACH Act passed the NC House and has been taken up by the NC Senate, where it passed the first reading.

The North Carolina House of Representatives is currently considering HB 96–North Carolina Reclaiming College Education on America’s Constitutional Heritage Act, or the “NC REACH Act.” This bill would require three credit hours of instruction on American Government in order to receive a baccalaureate degree from a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina system or an associate’s degree from a community college. The course would cover key documents from America’s history, including: the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, essays from the Federalist Papers, and Dr. Martin Luther King’s letter from Birmingham Jail. This morning, the bill passed the House Education – Universities Committee and has been sent to the House Education – Community Colleges Committee for Consideration.

Why this bill is needed

A democratic republic requires the participation of its citizens. However, if the citizens do not understand how the government works, it will be challenging for them to be appropriately involved and to make educated decisions.

Over the last decade, the general lack of knowledge about American government and history has become astoundingly clear. In fact, PragerU has done a series of videos highlighting just how poorly our society has been educated on these topics. In one of these videos, they asked people on the streets questions that are on the U.S. Citizenship Test, such as:

  • Can you name one U.S. Representative?
  • What are the two parts of U.S. Congress?
  • Who’s the current vice president?

Even though these questions are not particularly difficult, an alarming number of people either answered incorrectly or stated that they had no idea. In contrast, all of the interviewees were able to identify pictures of Tom Holland, list off the three Kardashian sisters, and name a song by Lady Gaga.

In a similar video, they asked people questions about American presidents, and then asked them to identify pictures of presidents and current celebrities. Again, while everyone could identify Tom Holland, identifying Thomas Jefferson was significantly harder. At the end of the questions, the interviewer asked them what they thought it said about our culture that everyone knew significantly more about pop culture than our presidents. One girl answered him, saying, “I think it says that we don’t really care what happens to our country and who runs it, when we really should.”


While passing this bill would not magically solve all of our problems, ensuring that our country’s history and government is a priority to North Carolina’s public university and community college systems would go a long way towards a better educated public. This in turn would equip people with the knowledge they need to be more active and informed citizens.  Each of the documents prioritized in this bill have been critical to the formation of America society and embody core American values. A country that is well-versed in its foundational documents is a country that is better equipped to make better decisions about the future.


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