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Why Florida Government Is So Weird — Why Now?
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Why Florida Government Is So Weird

I went to elementary school down here, but my middle and high schools were all over the world because I’m a military brat. I was shocked to learn over at the Pensacola Beach Blog that students in Florida schools don’t have to take Civics to graduate. The curriculum is so heavy on English and mathematics to pass testing, that social studies have been pushed to the side.

I don’t understand how a public school system can claim to graduate people who don’t understand how the state and Federal governments work. How can you really be a citizen of a country, if you don’t know its history? Am I the only one who thinks that requiring flags in classrooms, and having a recitation of a pledge to that flag is asinine if those making the pledge know nothing of the country? Shouldn’t a native-born citizen know as much as a naturalized citizen?

This is disturbing on many levels.


1 Steve { 04.26.06 at 12:41 am }

Shouldn’t a native-born citizen know as much as a naturalized citizen?

Well, certainly. But the wee bit of evidence I remember seeing suggests that most of those who completed Civics courses as part of their graduation requirement still didn’t know much about history or how state and federal governements do/don’t work. Just as all that time spent on English and mathematics will not result in many who are even minimally competent in those subject areas.

2 Michael { 04.26.06 at 10:34 am }

Welcome to the wonderful world of high-stakes testing. Back in my salad days, we had to take one American government class to graduate from junior high, and another to graduate from high school. And if I’d gone to a state university in Illinois for my bachelor’s as well, I’d have had to pass a third class (or at least a proficiency test) to get that degree. It’s still a bachelor’s requirement at state universities, but I’m not sure what the graduation requirements for high school are these days. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that government, like a lot of the other electives I took (some of which I enjoyed and some of which I merely endured), has since vanished from the curriculum because of some preznit’s puff policy or some education ninny’s dissertation research.

3 larkohio { 04.26.06 at 10:54 am }

Every American should know the history of our country, and how the government works.

4 pissed off patricia { 04.26.06 at 1:53 pm }

Well look who we have in our government down here? Would you expect any of them to know civics themselves ? They are for the most part a bunch of freakin’ morons. Ask one of them to define a civics class. I’m pretty sure a couple of them would hit the wall on that one.

5 Bryan { 04.26.06 at 3:11 pm }

Steve, I don’t disagree that students may not learn the material, but if it’s going to be “public” education, it should at least pretend that it serves a “public” purpose. If you don’t require it, students assume it isn’t important.

Michael, I had to take state history, geography, American government, US history, and world history to get an “academic/college prep” diploma. I don’t think it hurt me and I even know where the countries we invade are located.

These damn tests are killing education. In New York you had a state-wide test in each subject that functioned as your final exam. That was a good program, because it was based on the state curriculum, not somebody’s concept of a generalized question. There were no surprises, because you covered the material in your classes as part of the regular coursework.

Lark, I think you meant how the government is supposed to work, right?

POP, I had a state rep who channeled the ghost of John Wayne, and a state senator who was committed to a mental institution by his mother while he was in office. That’s why I fly a lege hurricane flag when these people get together in Tallahassee. My current senator, Durrell Peadon, is a medical doctor who believes that everyone in the state should be carrying at least one gun wherever they are.

“Civics, we don’t need no stinking civics”

6 andante { 04.26.06 at 10:13 pm }

No civics classes required to graduate from high school in this area, either. American history, yes, but precious little.

In our upside-down universe, things like science, civics, the arts, foreign language, and physical education have to take a back seat to “Intelligent Design” and abstinence education.

7 Bryan { 04.26.06 at 10:41 pm }

If I didn’t know better, I’s think they didn’t want to encourage people to know they had rights and there were limits on the power of governments.[/snark … if anyone doubted]