|Back to February Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 217||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||FEBRUARY 2004|
Florida Drops History Mandate
Squeezed by a voter-approved class-size limit, Florida has dropped the
requirement that high-school students study American history, American government,
world history and economics. The legislative action last spring facilitates a
three-year high-school diploma.
Congressman Jim Davis (D-FL) wants to return American history and government to the curriculum, even if it takes an act of Congress. He announced in November that he plans to introduce a bill forcing states to require those subjects for a high-school diploma as a condition to receiving federal education dollars. He said it is embarrassing that immigrants must learn more about U.S. history to pass the citizenship exam than is required by Florida schools.
"I am appalled that as soldiers are fighting in Iraq to protect our freedoms, the Florida Legislature has decided that it is not important for students to learn how these freedoms were won in the first place," he told the Palm Beach Post (11-18-03).
Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment in November 2002 to limit class sizes in public schools. (See Education Reporter, Oct. 2003.) Offering an option to skip senior year is one of a number of responses by Florida legislators to comply with the voters mandate.
The idea of eliminating senior year is spreading. Colorado lawmakers have asked state education officials to study the possibility of replacing 12th grade with a year of preschool. Supporters think such an approach would better prepare students for college by giving them an early start and could save money. (AP story at customwire.ap.org, 11-18-03) Unlike the Florida plan, which is optional to the student, the Colorado proposal contemplates a statewide approach for all students.