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Students must learn about U.S.

What country did we fight in the Revolutionary War? “Ahhh. . . Mexico? Russia?”
How many senators are there? “Oh, don’t ask me about that, I am so lame with that.”
Who won American Idol? “Caleb Johnson!” (Instant response.)
I am both entertained and concerned when I see these pieces where a reporter visits a college campus and asks basic questions about America, its Constitution and leaders. It seems there is a large segment of our electorate who vote cluelessly.  
Look at our educational processes. The only chance to ensure formal education about the Constitution and American history is in K-12. Most college graduation requirements, unless your major is history or political science, are void of requirements for these. 
In fact, the opposite is true. It’s not uncommon, as is often reported, for professors to tear down America as imperialistic, as not “building that” but stealing from other countries, responsible for everything bad that happens from global warming to human rights violations, etc.  
This all points to the importance of teaching American history, the Constitution and government throughout our elementary, middle and high schools and, most important, at home. 
Our schools should lay a foundation of knowledge through all grades on the greatness of this nation and the uniqueness of the American experience compared to the rest of the world; teaching about its contributions to people in times of need. And we should ensure students fully understand how our government was established, how it’s set up and why, who our leaders are, etc.   
Yet, high school graduation and GED requirements are void of such a requirement. Currently the Tennessee Department of Education graduation requirements for high school are math, English, science, social studies, PE and wellness, personal finance, foreign language, fine arts, and an elective focus. 
There is no requirement for demonstrating knowledge of American government or history.  And the elective U.S. History course starts study in 1877!
No wonder we “fought Russia” in the revolutionary War.  
Recently, Tennessee Senators Gerald McCormick and Mark Norris have introduced a bill requiring all students “to pass the United States citizenship and immigration services” civics test with a score of at least 60 in order to receive a regular high school diploma.”  (HB 0010 – 2015)
I fully support this concept; however, I would require at least an 80 percent passing grade, and I would make this a requirement for the awarding of a GED as well.
It may not be the citizenship test that is used, but what would be wrong with ensuring graduates knew as much about our country as immigrants gaining citizenship?  
Norris summed it up this way: “In order for democracy to work, you have to be well schooled in what is going on.”
In addition to supporting this bill, I believe it is time to, once again, require teaching our full history, our Constitution, and our state and federal government.
It should also continue be a topic of conversation in our homes, helping our children become more knowledgeable about our country. Our young folks need a better idea of what is going on.