Fort Mill Times

Civics testing is a good start

Arizona recently became the first state to pass a law requiring high school seniors to pass the same civics exam immigrants are required to take to become U.S. citizens.

“Our children will be entrusted with protecting the principles upon which this country was founded, and it is up to us to prepare them today for that responsibility,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “This will help ensure students understand basic civics.”

The bill requires all students to take the test and score at least 60 out of 100, starting in the 2016-17 school year. Other states are considering a similar type of law.

We think this is a good start, and one that should be emulated here in the Carolinas.

Anyone who has witnessed the television on-the-street interviews in which people are asked the most basic of questions, for example “Who did we fight in the Revolutionary War?,” and heard these questions answered incorrectly has the evidence why civics education and testing is needed.

Incidentally, almost as shocking is the total absence of embarrassment exhibited when they are told their answers are wrong. There’s no sense they recognize these are facts they should know.

We believe the required testing should be accompanied by reintroducing a basic course in civics throughout all primary and secondary grades. A single weekly class during this time would acquaint students with our country’s history and government structure, and make them aware of their individual responsibilities as citizens.

It is said we will be condemned to repeat the errors of the past unless we learn from our history. But if we don’t teach our history, how can we learn from it? Basic civics instruction can give us knowledge of our past, thus preparing us for our future.