Friday, 16 January 2015

The Civics Test

I noticed an Arizona news item today....the state passed legislation that requires each kid to pass a civics test.....in order to graduate.  On a test of 100 questions related to civics.....you need a sixty to pass.

Naturally, real quick....the news media jumped on this....being a Republican-theme and pounced the negatives.

Negative 1: It's relying heavily upon memorization.  This is basically true....but then what exactly is math, science, health, and economics?  About eighty percent of the final three years of high school is pure memorization.  You memorize enough each two weeks....to pass a stupid quiz, then enough to pass the final semester test.

Negative 2: You need critical thinking to be a good citizen.....not facts.  It's a curious statement.....you don't reach critical thinking, without some boundary....some platform....some facts.  The naive folks who cite this negative.....usually like to discuss things without any knowledge or basis....just work to convince people on opinion only.

Negative 3: Boring material.  I was kinda surprised when reading over the various commentaries related to the law....but they cited this as a big problem.  Obviously, they felt geometric equations were thrilling....or that English literature really pumped kids up.  Frankly, the final three years of school for me were fairly boring and I would have easily opted for some graduation test after the tenth grade.....just to move on.

The truth here is that you only have to pass with a sixty.  No idiot is going to form a rocket-science type test here....just multiple-choice and very simple questions.  If you paid attention during the final year of school.....you'd probably get a seventy-five on the test very easily.  And I'm pretty sure that the teacher will have an entire week of summaries at the end....hinting strongly at fifty of the questions just to give you a leg up on the test.

Will it improve anything?  I have my doubts.  I'd rather waste the efforts on economic situations, how to handle credit and debt, and grasping life's little curves on spending money.  But that'd scare just about everyone....if kids got smart and refused to get heavily into debt.

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