What 'The Daily Show' Did to Kamala Harris Was Brutal and Accurate
Another Fake News Story About Trump and the Third Reich Just Imploded
Yes, This Actually Happened on Wheel of Fortune
Secretary Blinken Taken to Task for Withholding Military Aid to Israel and Avoiding...
U.S. Forced to Take Action As Hamas Continues Attacking Gaza Pier
The Latest Climate Grift: ‘Carbon-Free’ Human Composting
Germany Would 'Of Course' Arrest Netanyahu If ICC Issues Warrant. Israel Responds.
In 'Stunning Rebuke,' Chicago City Council Backs Effort to Block Mayor From Canceling...
IDF Announces the Bodies of Three More Hostages Have Been Recovered
'What Are They Trying to Hide?': Lawmakers Skewer ATF Over Fatal Arkansas Raid
Only Trump Can Launch and Win a War Against the DEI Army
ICJ Issues Ruling in Case Against Israel
Republican Governor Banned From All Tribal Lands in Her State
Someone Needs to Go to Jail
What Do We Make of These Latest Battleground State Polls?

Civics - A Great Step In Arizona

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

It has been reported that David Bradley, a Democratic State Senator from Arizona, commented on his vote against Arizona's new law requiring high school students to pass a U.S. citizenship test on civics before graduation: 


"My point now is tests don't make citizens, citizens are tested by their actions."

We should be hopeful that State Senator Bradley is not asked to vote on written portion of drivers' license tests or just about anything else where a test is required to get a license.

Ignorance may be bliss for individuals on individual issues. Ignorance of civics by what may be a majority of young voters is a disaster. Bless Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona legislature in taking what should not be considered a remotely bold step by insisting that every high school student pass a basic civics test before graduating from high school. Noting that a high school degree is not required to vote, there should be no constitutional issues with such a requirement, only a belief that anyone graduating from a high school in the United States should have a basic knowledge of our governmental structure.

In the same AP piece (reprinted on Townhall.com) where Mr. Bradley's quote appeared, Joe Thomas, a high school government teacher said that he was concerned that having students take a 100-question test would take up an entire class period and will not be an effective way of getting students engaged in civics. He said the test is will require rote memorization rather than something that promotes critical thinking. "The interest is promoting civics and we want to see students engaged," Thomas said. "I don't know if a test engages students."


With all due respect to Mr. Thomas, a test which must be passed to graduate from high school will surely engage his students. It is the ultimate carrot and stick. And the goal is to teach civics, not promote civics. This is a distinction with a difference. It will be his job, in his classroom, to insure that his students are taught civics in a manner that keeps them interested. His job is to engage his students in something important, civics. His job is to take this material, teach it to his students and then promote critical thinking about the facts they have learned. It is not that difficult to craft great classes around the issue of what knowledge a citizen should have of his or her own nation.

A major concern among teachers at all levels is that if they have standard tests, they will need to teach to the tests. This is a valid concern until one recognizes that virtually every teacher tests based on what they teach in their classroom. So, the issue is not the standardized test, the issue is that others are determining the learning objectives. It is not an unreasonable concern because all teachers want to control their own classroom. That being said, a basic civics test is just that, a basic civics test. Would it bother me that a student literally learned only the answers to a one hundred question exam on civics? No, it would not. I am hoping that Arizona's teachers will pour their hearts into the subject matter, but if not, the students will still know a bit more about their country than before the exam and that cannot be a bad thing.


Great job Arizona!

Join the conversation as a VIP Member


Trending on Townhall Videos