Last year, lawmakers wanted to teach kids that the U.S. is a compound constitutional republic.
This year, at least one lawmaker wants them to learn more about the virtues of the free enterprise system.
Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, is running a bill, HB370, that would require students to take a one-semester class on the free enterprise system before graduating from high school. According to the bill, areas of instruction would include private property ownership; competition and regulation; profit and loss; and "the impact of government spending, regulation, taxation, and monetary and trade policies on economic growth, entrepreneurship, productivity and technological innovation," among other things.
According to the bill, "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."
Grover said he believes the class would help encourage future entrepreneurs and teach kids valuable lessons in the wake of this recession. He said the bill is a chance to "look at what we're doing and see if that's the best way to advance our free market economy and good ideas, and getting kids the knowledge that they need to be successful in a very treacherous financial world."
Grover also said he's open to potentially changing the bill so the course would not be required.
When asked about the idea Wednesday, Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, said she's not opposed to teaching kids about free enterprise, but believes the place for that is in financial literacy class, which is already a requirement of graduation.
"I'm not opposed to the idea but every time we mandate a course â¦ that means something has to be left out," Moss said.
A school assistant principal, Grover said he knows some of the topics within his bill are covered in financial literacy classes, but would like to make sure they're priorities within the curriculum. He said he's also open to working with education leaders to see if there's a way to better emphasize those concepts within existing courses.
The text of the bill was released this week. A hearing has not yet been scheduled for HB370.