In May of 2010, the Florida House of Legislature unanimously passed a bill implementing a new emphasis on civics education.Â This is an act of legislation that I do support, but are Republicans in the state paying attention to exactly what the content of the new civics instruction program will include?
At least one conscientious teacher is doing so, and trying to raise the alarm before it is too late!!
The stateâ€™s new exit exams are indicative of future curriculums that will be required educational material in the public schools.Â Hereâ€™s an example of what is included in that curriculum:
â€¢Describe the attempts toÂ promote international justice
â€¢Analyze the major factors thatÂ drove United States imperialism
â€¢Analyze the effects ofÂ domestic terrorism on the American people.
â€¢Examine the controversy surrounding theÂ proliferation of nuclear technology in the United States
â€¢Assess key figures and organizations in shaping theÂ Black Power Movement.
â€¢Analyze significant Supreme Court decisions relating toÂ reproductive rights.
â€¢Describe efforts by the United States and other world powers toÂ avoid future wars
â€¢Examine theÂ failure of the United StatesÂ to support the League of Nations
â€¢Discuss the economic outcomes ofÂ demobilization.
Just to jog the memory of citizens, the state of Florida passed laws earlier this year that stipulate teacherâ€™s pay will be based more on merit than strictly on tenure, using exit exams as a mechanism by which the teacher is evaluated.Â It was an effort on the part of the state to improve the educational outcomes of the public school system.Â
However, given the kinds of changes that have taken place in the curriculum, this now puts teachers in a precarious position.
While exit exams are a vital tool in evaluating student knowledge acquisition, they force very specific aspects of curriculum into being taught as accurate and factual. Teachers, who will now be evaluated and paid according to the exit examâ€™s specific details and student performance therein, are all but forced into teaching children â€œwhat to think.â€
The new Florida exit exam standards are a shocking move toward what one can only equate to soviet style propaganda to create a monolithic citizenry. In the case of high school American history, a look into the specifics of the exit exam is all that is needed as proof to an agenda directed in a planned process by groups that have no problem using whatever means necessary to acquire power and promote a twisted vision of America. Florida exit exams in the social sciences need to be stopped immediately and there needs to be a serious reconsideration of the entire process before moving ahead.
If itâ€™s any consolation to the citizens of Florida, weâ€™re facing some of the same kinds of issues here in NC where I live.Â A certain portion of what is taking place regarding the content of these civics programs is due to use the acceptance of curriculums being offered by organizations such as Campaign for the Civic Mission Schools .
The Campaign for the Civic Mission Schools was created to expand and improve civic learning in our schools, grades K-12. The Campaign works with its 40 coalition partners, the Campaignâ€™s Steering Committee, to bring about changes in state, local, and national policy that promote civic learning and implement the recommendations in the Civic Mission of Schools report, published in 2003 by Carnegie Corporation of New York and CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on civic Learning and Engagement at the University of Maryland). The report reflects a broad consensus among scholars and practitioners that most young Americans have a poor understanding of representative democracy and their role in it and that the schools need to play a major role.â€
â€œThe Campaign is hosted by the National Council for the Social Studies.Â Funding for the Campaign comes from Carnegie Corporation of New Yorkand the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.â€
This organizationâ€™s objectives and goals are defined within a report titled â€œSix Promising Approaches to Civics Educationâ€.Â Here is a list of those objectives:
1. Provide instruction in government, history, law and democracy.
2. Incorporate into the classroom discussion of current local, national and international issues and events, particularly those that young people view as important to their lives.
3. Design and implement programs that provide students with the opportunity to apply what they learn through performing community service that is linked to the formal curriculum and classroom instruction.
4. Offer extracurricular activities that provide opportunities for young people to get involved in their schools or communities.
5. Encourage student participation in school governance.
6. Encourage student participation in simulations of democratic processes and procedures
The goals and objectives sound very positive, but it has to be considered within the context of what is included in the curriculum.Â If the curriculum teaches a biased view of American history with a socialist bent, this totally alters the context in which the younger generations learns about their responsibilities and rights as American citizens.Â The â€œnewâ€ scope of context being presented is one that favors acceptance of both socialism and world government as a societal norm, not something to be questioned.
I hope that in reading this, more citizens within in the state of Florida will pick up this alarm.Â Contact your local representatives.Â Ask them questions to determine how much know about the content of the new curriculum.Â Tell them what your concerns are. let them know that you are awake and aware of it.
Vigilance is our responsibility as citizens. Let’s do it right, for all our sakes.