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Civics in the nation’s capital?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

US Capitol at Night Source Wikimedia CommonsAccording to the Washington Post, a new proposal by the Washington DC State Board of Education would, among other things, eliminate the current requirement that students take a course in American government in order to graduate from high school. Instead, students would be required to take courses in world history (1 unit), United States history (1 unit), and Washington, DC history (0.5) units, and then would have the choice to fill their remaining 1.5 units of social studies with classes such as economics, financial literacy, global studies, or government/civics.

The Post‘s Valerie Strauss disagrees with the Board’s proposal:

In the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category: The public school system in the nation’s capital may let high school students graduate without taking a high-school-level course in how their country’s government works.

The D.C. State Board of Education  is  proposing changes to graduation requirements from the system that would actually get rid of the current requirement that students take a U.S. government class,  my colleague Emma Brown reported here. If approved, they would have to rely on the information they received in elementary and middle school.

Under the proposed changes, high school students in the District would take more physical education, art and music, and be required to write a thesis before graduating. They would also be permitted to earn some of their credits — proposed to go from 24 to 26 — outside the classroom, including study-abroad programs as well as off-campus arts and sports programs.

Civics education advocates are, Brown reports, unhappy with the proposal to drop the U.S. government requirement, and it is said to be open for discussion.

The real question is why it is a consideration.