By Nathan Barton
A quick follow-up on the South Dakota bill that would have required home-schoolers to pass a state-mandated (and -written) test on civics in order to get a valid high school diploma.
It has (for now, at least) failed.
After the requirement for homeschoolers was removed in committee, the entire section was “hoghoused” back into the bill. However, in two floor votes, the homeschool language was then removed, and ultimately, the entire bill died. The State of South Dakota will NOT require a civics test to graduate from high school from anyone: public, charter, private, or home.
The vote was an interesting one. South Dakota has 35 senators, 30 Republicans and 5 Democrats. The bill died 13 to 21, and as far as I can tell, all Democrats voted for it. So that means that there were 8 GOP types who supported an unfunded mandate and micromanaging piece of legislation.
The history of the bill is also interesting that it was introduced at the request of the governor. The GOP governor.
Which may explain why 8 GOP votes continued to support this: clinging to their vows of support for Governor Noem. And because requiring things like this are typical of conservatives.
I do not condemn the idea of teaching civics and having tests of knowledge of civics. It is an important part of life and therefore should be taught. But having state government (or federal, or tribal, or local) dictate that to homeschoolers and private school students is a bad idea and should NOT be any part of government power.
I taught my own sons the subject of “civics” (or as we called it, “civil affairs” and “constitutional government”). And will no doubt (Lord willing) teach my grandchildren that as well. Just as my own father taught me the basics of civics (he called it “social studies”) when I was growing up.
And it is clear, in reading and hearing what goes on in the Fifty States today, that there is a great need to teach young people about government. But the LAST people we want either teaching civics or dictating the content of those studies and tests, are the bureaucrats and politicians of government. Resources? yes. But NOT in charge or with influence.