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Civics course for high school graduation?

Feb 17, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Next Thursday, February 23 the New Hampshire Senate will vote on a bill that would require a civics course for high school graduation. 

The Senate Education committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill, SB 45.

Currently, all public and private schools in New Hampshire require regular courses of instruction in the history, government and constitutions of the United States and New Hampshire. Such courses must begin by 8th grade and continue through high school.

If passed, SB 45 would require a civics course in high school that would cover the following areas of instruction:

  • Duties and responsibilities of a citizen.
  • Opportunities for citizen participation and involvement in the governmental process.
  • The structure and operation of state and federal government.
  • The constitutional basis of state and federal government.
  • The interaction between local, state, and federal governments.
  • Exposure to current governmental affairs.

Similar legislation has been passed across the nation, including in Chicago school districts in 2015.

Bill supporters argue that civics education is essential to make sure that future generations participate responsibly in our democracy.  However, many schools are spending less time on civics education to meet other curriculum needs.

Bill opponents note that just last year the state passed a law requiring high schoolers to take a civics test.  They argue it should be up to local school districts to set curriculum, and the testing requirement is enough to ensure students are educated in civics.

Should NH require a course in civics for high school graduation? Leave a comment to join the discussion. 

UPDATE: Read our Citizen Voices℠ report on this issue and find out where New Hampshire stands on this issue.

Comments

Carolyn Greenwood
- Stark

Sun, 02/19/2017 - 10:10pm

Our children are our future. It is our children who will run our future governments. And it is our children who will decide if our country will be a World Leader or a nation collapsing in on itself. Americans are weak in knowledge of their own Country and their own Government. Too many adult Americans do not have a working knowledge of our government. That is so sad. It is not enough to just study basic history in school. Children and adults in Canada, and other countries, know more about how the US government works than children and adults who were born here and who have lived here all their lives.

With that said, under our current US Government Administration, I have great concerns surrounding the “Duties and responsibilities of a citizen”. It has the sound of something from the Hitler Youth Movement. While it is important for our children to have a working knowledge of our government (and the ability to participate it that government), it is equally important to teach our children to think for themselves. Question everything. To take the time to really look at the issues and research possible remedies; to think outside the box.

Carolyn Greenwood
Stark, NH

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