Civics education in the United States is nothing short of shameful, and something has to be done to improve it. A high school test won’t solve all the problems, but it would not hurt in the slightest to make high school kids learn civics and be forced to pass a test on civics before graduation. So, Arizona has gone ahead and passed legislation requiring just that.
I certainly approve. And to those who criticize this move by saying that requiring that high school students pass a civics test won’t necessarily make for better citizens, I say “you are right.” But requiring that high school students pass a physics course won’t necessarily make for physicists. Requiring that they pass a mathematics course won’t make for mathematicians. Requiring that they pass an English course won’t make for future Shakespeares. But that doesn’t stop us from requiring–quite rightly–that high school students be versed in physics, mathematics, and English, among other subjects. We are interested in giving students as complete an education as possible, with the hopes that it will have some positive impact upon them as they go forward in their lives. To be sure, the education may fail to take. But it will not be, and should not be for lack of trying. High school students should know something of our Constitution, our laws, how our government works, and what our rights are. Kudos to Arizona for trying to pass that knowledge along.