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Florida Wants Kids to Know More About Government

Passing an end-of-year civics exam will become mandatory for middle school students soon. What do you think about the idea?

With a large number of Americans failing to make the grade when it comes to general knowledge about the federal government, Florida education officials are stepping up to the plate to remedy the situation.

Beginning next school year, the state intends to make passing an end-of-year civics exam a critical part of the grading process in middle school. Students already take civics classes in the seventh grade, but starting in the 2013-14 school year, they’ll have to pass the exam to be promoted, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The test will count as 30 percent of a student’s civics grade.

Florida made at least one semester of civics mandatory in 2010.

Both moves have come on the heels of national surveys that showed a high percentage of American citizens couldn’t name the three branches of government, a Supreme Court justice or even basic information about the Constitution. In 2010, for example, Newsweek gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. citizenship test. A total of 38 percent failed.

Other statistics quoted by the Times are more alarming. Read the full article for details.

How important do you think civics classes are? Should the state make passing mandatory for promotion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

christina hrvatin July 10, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I don't recall having ever taken a "Civics" course in school; however, I did take U.S Government and Geography. I was unaware these courses were no longer in the mainstream curriculum? I attended school in P.A. and then my last year in F.L. The content between the two was miles apart...Florida schools are scary.
Michael D. July 10, 2012 at 02:54 PM
When I graduated in 1996 it was manatory for any Florida High School Senior to have taken a U.S. Government, Economics, and at least 2 History Classes (1 U.S. History) in High School to recieve a diploma. There were a few that walked across the stage receiving certificates instead of diplomas because they didn't receive a passing grade in U.S. Government. Also it was mandatory to take at least 2 civics courses while working on my AA, before moving to upper division in College. Civics is a nesscary class especially to be able to fully understand how our government is suposed to operate.
Jery Elliott July 24, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I am taking this comment in the sarcastic tone in which I hope it is written.
Jery Elliott July 24, 2012 at 05:11 PM
How interesting that NONE of our local candidates whom I know read the Patch have not chimed in on this. I wonder what sort of Civics class(es) Burgin and Belcher and all the others have taken in their lifetime.
Stephen Buczinski January 26, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Jay, Do you remember the film that Mr. North made of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with the classes he taught that year? It was shot along a creek north of Dunedin, as I recall. I don't recall what part I played, but it all brings back fond memories. Stephen Buczinski

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