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December 05, 2014

Koch-Backed Group Supplying Material for N.C. History Course

North Carolina education officials are encouraging high schools to include in U.S. history courses curriculum materials developed by a nonprofit organization that gets funding from the Koch family, the Charlotte Observer reports. The Virginia-base Bill of Rights Institute received a $100,000 state contract to prepare materials for lessons on American founding principles that are required under a 2011 state law.

The institute has received grants from David Koch, the Charles Koch Foundation, and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation. Charles and David Koch, the multibillionaire owners of Koch Industries, finance an expansive network of political nonprofits that back conservative candidates and causes. Some teachers have raised questions about using a Koch-tied group to develop lessons.

The state Department of Public Instruction, which typically leaves decisions on how to meet curricular goals to school districts, "highly recommend[ed]" that teachers use the Bill of Rights Institute material. State Superintendent June Atkinson, a Democrat, said the institute collaborated with North Carolina educators and incorporated their feedback in preparing the course resources.