Imposing a new Education Initiative for the benefit of Federal Data Collectors

Companion bills H.3539 and S.437 would launch the “James B. Edwards Civics Education Initiative.” As part of the required curriculum for secondary public and charter schools, as well as the GED curriculum, this initiative would feature a standardized test on the fundamentals of United States history and government. The test would be completely independent of the United States government credit currently required of high schools and would have no impact on the student due to his or her results. Students who do perform well – that is, a score of 60 or better – would receive a certificate of achievement by the school district. All performance data from each school would be sent to the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, compiled into a report, and sent to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for review.

The subjects to be taught under this new initiative are certainly worth learning about, but lawmakers may want to ensure that current laws requiring education in these subjects are enforced before they create even more. In addition, the state should not be acting as a data aggregator for a federal agency. If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wants the kind of data that would be provided by this initiative they should devise their own program to collect said data that doesn’t rely on co-opting state government.

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