It’s no secret. Our kids don’t know much about US history – or civics, either. The NAEP Data Explorer online tool reveals that only 23 percent of the nation’s high school seniors scored at or above proficient on the last NAEP civics test in 2010. Back in 2006, 26 percent were proficient. The drop was statistically significant.
Things looked even worse when NAEP tested seniors for US history knowledge. In 2010 just 11 percent of the nation’s high school seniors met muster.
Kentucky legislators understand this problem. Today, a really interesting speaker talked to the legislature’s Education Committee about this problem and why Kentucky needs to adopt Senate Bill 192, which will make it a graduation requirement for almost all students to pass a test drawn the same material that immigrants to this country are required to know to gain citizenship. The bill includes special consideration for students with disabilities.
Speaker Brian O’Shea represents the Joe Foss Institute, which is very interested in improving our young citizens’ knowledge about these vital subjects, especially civics. Here is what he had to say.
By the way, Joe Foss was a famous World War II Marine aviator, Medal of Honor recipient, governor and a real hero. He also had a major interest in helping young people, even including a young, future NBC News anchor, Tom Brokaw.
I think Foss, who was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in 2003, would be pleased that SB-192 easily cleared the Senate Education Committee meeting today and now goes on to consideration by the full Kentucky Senate.