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Educational standards in California, Missouri, New York and other states require that kids be taught the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence is one of America’s founding documents, yet a video circulating online claims that students in the U.S. aren’t learning about it.
"Here's a real rabbit hole you can go down," said the person in a TikTok video shared April 6 on Facebook. "Why does the public education system not teach the Declaration of Independence? They’ll talk about all kinds of other things but they will not discuss the American Declaration of Independence, because the American Declaration of Independence very clearly says that it is the people’s duty to overthrow a tyrannical government."
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
Using the backdrop in the video — which features logos and the phrases, "Real Talk 93.3" and "the voice of freedom" — we traced the video to "The Victor Nieves Show," on the Missouri-based, conservative Real Talk Radio Network. The clip features host Victor Nieves.
When contacted by PolitiFact, Nieves said that with some exceptions, schools across the country put "minimal focus" on teaching students about the Declaration of Independence. "Though the existence of the document is surely acknowledged, the SPIRIT is not," he wrote in an email.
The quality and thoroughness of any education can be questioned or debated, but it’s not accurate that students in U.S. public schools aren’t taught about the Declaration of Independence, which in 1776 announced the separation of the 13 North American British colonies from Great Britain.
We looked to education standards in Missouri, where Real Talk Radio Network and Nieves are based.
The Missouri Learning Standards that define the knowledge and skills students need at each grade level include requirements that students learn about the historic document and its meaning.
Social studies grade level expectations include knowledge of the Declaration of Independence as early as fourth grade. At that point, with help, students are expected to be able to "read and analyze the text of the Declaration of Independence to determine important principles that it contains including inalienable rights, government by the consent of the governed and the redress of grievances," according to the grades K-5 social studies standards.
The topic is also covered repeatedly in a variety of ways in grades six to 12:
Students in grades six to eight should be able to "analyze the Declaration of Independence to determine the historical context and political philosophies that influenced its creation."
Students in grade nine to 12 are expected to "apply the concepts of natural law, social contract, due process of law, and popular sovereignty to explain the purposes and legacy of the Declaration of Independence."
Many other states require in their state standards that the Declaration of Independence be taught.
In California, the state standards say students in first grade should be able to "identify American symbols, landmarks and essential documents, such as the flag, bald eagle, Statue of Liberty, U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and know the people and events associated with them." From there, standards require students to build on that knowledge until they complete high school.
In New York, the state’s K-8 social studies framework says students in fifth grade will read the Declaration of Independence to learn "key values, beliefs and principles of constitutional democracy."
It is commonly taught in schools and, using a simple internet search, we found it was a part of the curriculum standards and other educational requirements for states including Iowa, Louisiana, Arkansas, West Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida and more.
A viral video claimed U.S. public schools don't teach the Declaration of Independence.
State educational standards that dictate what students learn in schools across the country require that kids be taught the Declaration of Independence.
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, April 6, 2023
Facebook post, April 3, 2023
TikTok video, March 25, 2023
TikTok video, Feb. 20, 2023
Emailed statement from Victor Nieves, host of The Victor Nieves Show, April 7, 2023
Emailed statement from Mallory McGowin, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, April 7, 2023
Victor Nieves twitter account, accessed April 7, 2023
Real Talk 93.3, The Victor Nieves Show, accessed April 7, 2023
Real Talk 93.3, Real Talk Radio Network, accessed April 7, 2023
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Missouri Learning Standards, accessed April 7, 2023
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, MLS Social Studies Standards Grades K-5, accessed April 7, 2023
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, MLS Social Studies Standards Grades 6-12, accessed April 7, 2023
Real Talk 93.3 Facebook post, Feb. 24, 2023
Victor Nieves Show Facebook post, March 29, 2023
The National Archives, Declaration of Independence: A Transcription, accessed April 7, 2023
California Department of Education, Search the California Content Standards - Declaration of Independence, accessed April 7, 2023
Online Sunshine, Early learning-20 education code public K-12 education, accessed April 7, 2023
Michigan Department of Education, Michigan K-12 standards social studies, accessed April 7, 2023
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Section 1D: Statewide educational goals; academic standards; vocational training; grant program, accessed April 7, 2023
Ct.gov, Grade 3: Reading Informational Texts - The Declaration of Independence and the First Fourth of July, accessed April 7, 2023
West Virginia Code, §18-2-9. Required courses of instruction, accessed April 7, 2023
Arkansas Department of Education, Social Studies Academic Standards, accessed April 7, 2023
Louisiana Department of Education, Louisiana Student Standards, accessed April 7, 2023
Iowa Department of Education, Grade 5 | Social Studies (Essential Elements), accessed April 7, 2023
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