Myrtle Beach, SC, Orlando, FL February 11, 2016
Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-History is important to the American society. Too often kids are able to list TV show casts such as Jersey Shore, but aren’t able to name the Vice President. That is quite sad. However, this problem can be tackled if educational facilities were to institute stringent examinations. These exams should be set and taken by students who are leaving high schools and those to be admitted in colleges.
In taking exit and entrance examinations, students will be coerced into knowing integral aspects and laws of the nation. This includes Civics. Under this study, they’ll be well informed about their rights as American citizens, their obligations and duties as citizens and also their responsibility to the government or state.
In addition to being well versed in Civics, there comes the American history, all aspects of it, including the good and bad. Students will be aware of where America is coming from, those individuals who fought to make it a better place (a place of equality), and the government’s structure. The study of history should not be dismissed as minor, but should be seen important since students will not be misled by those who want the truth to remain hidden. History and Civics also teaches the typical American student to think and make decisions of their own volition.
In instituting these exit and entrance exams, students will not only know the name of the vice president, but they’ll know each member who had a say in the federal matters throughout the years.
Owatonna, MN Correspondent-American students as a group are woefully ignorant and under-taught in the fields of American History and civics. Instituting required exit exams for graduating high school students will not only not solve the problem of ignorance, it won’t even address the underlying cause of the problem. The base issue is parental abdication of responsibility to raise, educate, and instill in our children respect and appreciation for our governmental and political process.
In a society that encourages selfishness, promotes the idea of entitlement, denigrates thinkers and achievers in favor of shallow celebrity and instant gratification, requiring graduating students to pass some form of test has little chance of bringing about any positive change.
The more likely outcome is that when a critical mass of children fails the test to the point where parents complain about schools holding their children back, the tests and standards will be dumbed down so “no child is left behind,” and “everybody is a winner.”
Besides, students only see tests as necessary evils to be endured until they graduate from the system. Most students promptly forget most of what they learned for 12 years because little of what they were force fed in school seemed relevant to their real worlds. History or civics tests will be equated with drivers’ license tests: remember just enough to pass the road test, then ignore it all and drive the way you intend to and flaunt the law with speeding, inattentive driving, and/or driving while under the influence.
Only when one of two things happen will history and civics be emphasized at their appropriate levels. One: our political system implodes and the country is thrown into a chaos that can only be tamed by some sort of revolution, or Two: the vast majority of parents rise up in protest and demand radical changes to our educational system that will restore our children’s education as the highest, noblest priority in society.
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I could not possibly be more in favor of a sort of General Civics Exam given to graduating high school seniors. Anyone who is leaving high school in this country should be able to recite the Bill of Rights from memory, name at least half the presidents (and the last 10 in order) and understand their role in the operation of the country.
We spend millions setting up tests for our kids to make sure they know their math and their ABCs before they leave school, but as the political commentary from the greater portion of Millennials shows, they haven’t the foggiest idea about good government, civic duty, solid fiscal policy and long-range planning of the type that gives us things like the Interstate Highway System (which is now falling apart thanks to a gigantic failure of such planning).
This generation, raised on Magic cards and “Twilight” novels, hasn’t quite figured out that when it comes to building and maintaining a stable republic, wishing can’t make it so. No matter how high your broadsword skills are or how adept you are at slipping about unseen, if you don’t put in the work to make your local, state and national governments function properly, you’ll end up living in a failed state or worse.
If we have an effective high school exit exam, I’m not sure an identical test for college entrance is necessary. What I would prefer to see for matriculating freshmen is a short course in degree economics. I recently listened to “Marketplace” on American Public Media and heard a commentator discussing student loan debt. A woman called in complaining that she’d gone tens of thousands of dollars in debt for a creative writing degree, and now couldn’t find work in her degree field to make her loan payments. The guest on the show came perilously close to calling her a complete idiot, and managed to imply same very strongly.
While I understand that we need writers, poets, painters and other creative types in the world, those choosing to pursue degrees in these fields should be counseled that they’re not likely to find lucrative employment straight out of college, so taking on truckloads of student loan debt is not their wisest course. A little financial reality check to clear the stars from their 18-year-old eyes is definitely in order.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-It is time to institute exit exams from high schools and stringent entrance exams for colleges to ensure that the youth of America are versed in basic American history and civics, and that is exactly what several states have done in part. Both Arizona and North Dakota have passed legislation that requires high school students to complete and pass a civics test as a graduation requirement. South Dakota and Utah have followed their lead, and similar bills have been introduced in a number of other states.
The civics test itself is actually the U.S. citizenship test that immigrants take before becoming naturalized citizens. There are 100 questions about history, civics and government, and the questions asked are not particularly involved or difficult. High school students must score 60 out of 100 to pass and receive a diploma or GED.
Legislators feel that the testing at least measures minimal knowledge of basic civics, and they realize that the test is not the total answer to the severe lack of student knowledge with civics, but they feel it is a step in the right direction. Instructors, on the other hand, believe that teaching and studying to the test will simply lead to memorization of answers and few students will remember what they learned long after the test is over, and they have graduated. Simple memorization of answers will not allow students to engage in civics or America’s history on a critical level of thinking and understanding.
It is simply common sense that civics and American history be required coursework for high school students, and college students should at least have a working knowledge of the same when they enter college, and before they obtain a degree. In spite of civics and American history being part of almost every high school curriculum, something is missing in those classes that inhibit students from learning the true foundations of civics and American history. With so many students in both high school and college being civics and American history illiterate, one solution is exit and entrance exams; however, in addition to prepping students for a civics exam, core classes and the curriculum used (not the watered down, fictional or exclusion of facts material already in existence) should be evaluated and modified to provide students with America’s foundational principles, overviews of early founding documents, the Constitution, and other enriched historical subject matter. All of these areas relating to civics and American history should be part of a program to help students become more informed and effective citizens.
Today’s students are not knowledgeable about basic government and are unable to relate to it. In order to save generations of students, it is the duty of individual state departments of public instruction, state legislatures and parents to help adopt not only the civics tests but the curriculum necessary to instruct students at all levels, from elementary through high school. Students must understand how the government of the United States functions; students must be made aware that the citizens of a constitutional republic are not only the backbone of a government, but that they are also responsible for the election and placement of office seekers at the state and federal level to represent them. Without newer generations of informed and educated citizens, the real meaning and purpose of civics and historical knowledge and how to apply either one will be lost.