Comments: It's still May 4.

Civics has been phased out by the need to pass mandated tests. Civics and American History are now optional courses in many areas of the US so schools can pass the FCAT, or what ever stupid test a state may have.

It doesn't apparently occur to politicians that if you require students to read, they might get better at reading. Instead they are required to practice reading tests about reading.

At the end of this latest experiment we will have student qualified to take tests and nothing else.

Posted by Bryan at May 4, 2004 08:28 PM

It was my understanding that the focus on teaching to past standardized tests was more something that had started in the last few years. If that's so, it doesn't explain why a 20 year-old has no concept of civic duty.

Maybe they started it fifteen years ago. Being childless, I wouldn't have noticed. :)

Posted by Anne at May 4, 2004 10:14 PM

Government was required in HS, but it wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement of participatory democracy, as I recall it, but a pretty clinical description of the essential components of the system. My retired-cop HS Law teacher did more, in that regard, than the rest of the social studies faculty combined. The Great Books Club was good, too: you can't read Walden and Socrates' Apology and Crito, and stuff like that without getting a little engaged.

Now, US History is becoming this triumphalist thing (actually, they want to add it to the No Child Left Untested repetoire, but they don't want to touch the politics of historical selectivity until the election is more behind them than in front of them), but participatory democracy is dying.

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at May 6, 2004 03:31 AM

"The politics of historical selectivity"

Now that's a blog entry worth reading. (Hint. Hint.)

Posted by Anne at May 6, 2004 12:53 PM