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Author Topic: Does Congress really represent America?  (Read 10773 times)

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Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Does Congress really represent America?
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2011, 09:36:21 PM »
As far as people born here having to pass a test, I don't know about other states, but in Wisconsin and Illinois you must pass a Constitution test for high school graduation. In Illinois you must pass one to graduate from 8TH grade. 

Offline Noelle

Re: Does Congress really represent America?
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2011, 09:52:48 PM »
One thing I have to wonder about all this is the relevancy of comparing high school classes. How many people actually remember a large majority of what they even learned in high school? I'm not surprised most people don't remember their government/civics courses, you lose knowledge when it goes dormant. How many people really need to recall the premise of To Kill a Mockingbird or what a subordinate clause is or what functions do in calculus, much less how many seats there are in the House of Representatives? I engage in the politics and religion section frequently and I couldn't tell you who represents my state or district or anything in the House or Senate and I'd wager to say a lot of others who post here are also fuzzy on a lot of their civics course homework, too.

It's not just about the things we're required to do and at what age, it's about how you cultivate and maintain those interests over time. It doesn't matter that you're asked to memorize the Presidents in order by the 5th grade if you never use that knowledge again -- and believe me, I can't remember a good chunk of our former presidents' names because I can honestly say I really don't care :(

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Does Congress really represent America?
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2011, 10:19:32 PM »
The statement was in consideration of do naturalized citizens have to take a test and the answer is yes at least to graduate.

How much you remember from high school all depends on how much you  use it afterwards just like any other skill, use it or lose it. As far as remembering knowledge from past classes I am sure most people don't directly use Calculus in their daily lives, however, if you are science/engineer major I would hope it gave you the background to get through the classes of your major.

I agree that memorizing the presidents is for the most part a waste of time, however, one should know the basic idea of how the government works and what takes place in local politics. People have far more control in local administrations, town, school board, etc then they have in state or national elections.

Offline Serephino

Re: Does Congress really represent America?
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2011, 10:42:19 PM »
I remember quite a bit from my History and Civics classes.  Of course, admittedly, my brain is a sponge for useless facts.  Well, I enjoyed History, and did find it important to know how the government works.  Although, I used to be able to count to 100 in French, and now I can only count to 39.  I guess it depends on what interests you, and how much you use it. 

I do think voters should be better informed, but of course, you can't force people to learn.  The public school system has been trying to do that for a very long time, and it hasn't worked so far.  I only had to pass the national standardized test for Reading and Math to graduate. 

But I still don't think it would be a horrible thing to make candidates prove they have some grasp on how it all works.  They are the ones that have to run everything after all.  There are probably Congressman who couldn't pass the citizenship test.  If you just use that test, then at least you would weed out those who don't have a grasp on reality. 

Offline Noelle

Re: Does Congress really represent America?
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2011, 10:53:07 PM »
I don't disagree that remembering things about your government/civics course is important. I'd like to have remembered more about mine, but I had other interests pervade that were more important to me -- how exactly do you get people under the age of 18 excited about a system they can't partake in and don't really feel a part of and then keep their interest well past the legal voting age? By the time I was old enough to vote, I was jaded on politics again and it wasn't until the last few years that I really started to take an active interest in the government again.

I agree that we should be holding our politicians to higher standards, but my point is also that we're the ones who push them through the system into positions of power and then sit back and cry about how they don't care about us or how they've lied or how stupid we think they are. Consider this: people actually voted Michelle Bachmann into power. They saw her on TV or read about her somewhere on the internet and decided, "Hey, I really like her!" enough that she was put in a place of authority. Call me cynical, but I'm beginning to think it's not the politicians we need to be worried about, but ourselves. I'm more frightened by the group of people who thought she was a suitable leader than I am of her as a singular person. If you can manage to be elected without knowing what newspapers you like to read (like a certain other female politician we know), you might actually be a hell of a lot smarter than we give you credit for, or at least your PR people are.