Tag Archives: civics

First statewide TN student mock election set

News release from secretary of state’s office
Nashville, Tennessee – (August 24, 2016) – Tennessee’s first ever statewide Student Mock Election is off to an amazing start. As of today, more than 170 schools across the state are registered to participate, meaning an estimated 76,000 students will do something most kids can’t: vote for president of the United States.

Now the Secretary of State’s office is also rolling out an essay contest to encourage students to be actively engaged citizens. Essays topics will be about voting and length requirements vary by grade level. Schools may submit two essays at each grade level. Winners from each level will receive a TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship worth $100, $250 or $500 in addition to a trip to the State Capitol. Continue reading

For TN students, taking civics test is mandatory; passing it is not

In a “guidance” message sent to public school system directors last week, the state Department of Education declares – contrary to some suggestions – a new law requiring high school students to take a civics test does not require they get a passing grade for graduation.

“All public high school students, including the class of 2017, are expected to participate in the civics test; however, a passing grade is not a requirement for graduation,” said the guidance sent by email on Thursday.

As reported by the Kingsport Times-News, there has been confusion over whether passage of the test was required for a high school student to graduate under the law, which was approved in the Legislature and signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last year, though it doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2017. Continue reading

Bill mandating high school citizenship test clears committee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee students would have to pass the U.S. citizenship and immigration services’ civic test before getting a high school diploma under legislation advancing in the state House.

The measure sponsored by Republican House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga (HB10) was approved on a voice vote in a House education subcommittee on Wednesday.

The legislation is similar to other measures being proposed across the country.

In order to pass, the Tennessee bill requires students to answer at least 60 percent of the questions correctly. They will be allowed to take the test as many times as necessary to pass.

The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Education Committee.

Note: For more detail, see previous post HERE

‘Those Who Do Not Learn From History Are Doomed to Repeat It” (except in high school)

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following statement about today’s report on American students’ achievement in history on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released by the National Assessment Governing Board:
“For middle school and high school students, U.S. history remains our students’ worst subject and we must do better,” Alexander said. “We are making some minor gains, but our students are still performing poorly in history. We need to return U.S. history to its rightful place in the classroom so that our children grow up learning what it means to be an American.”
The NAEP U.S. history assessment for 2010 measures “students’ knowledge of American history in the context of democracy, culture, technological and economic changes, and America’s changing world role.” The results show students’ understanding of the themes, periods, and ways of knowing and thinking about U.S. history, according to the National Assessment Governing Board. The 2010 results are compared to three previous assessment years — 1994, 2001, and 2006.
The 2010 results show that more than half of 12th graders tested are performing below the Basic level. For example, 88 percent of 12th graders don’t understand the reasons the United States fought in World War I.
In 1986, during Alexander’s last year as governor of Tennessee, he was asked by then U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett to lead a study group named the Alexander-James Study Group on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The group recommended the creation of what came to be called the National Assessment Governing Board to oversee the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the Nation’s Report Card.
Every year, Alexander brings onto the Senate floor 50 teachers of U.S. history, as part of the Presidential Academy for outstanding history teachers across the nation. Sen. Alexander proposed the creation of Presidential and Congressional Academies for outstanding teachers and students as part of his maiden speech on March 4, 2003 and was the author of the American History and Civics Education Act of 2004 which authorized the creation of the Academies.