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Flexibility To Be Uneducated

Well, heck, World War II was a long time ago. Why do we even need to know about those “Nazi” people?

Ask the 30 or so West Virginia prison guard trainees who are in trouble after touching a raw nerve regarding the Nazis. Some of them probably wish they’d learned more about the horror of Nazism before they graduated from high school. The trainees posed for a picture in which most were giving the palm-forward, raised-arm salute used by the Nazis (some had clenched fists). The picture was captioned, “Hail Byrd!” It apparently referred to a Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation staffer.

Now, however, Mountain State public education officials are considering a proposal that could allow teenagers to leave high school without knowing much about the Nazi era — or anything else in world history.

And, by the way, the folks running our schools don’t seem convinced that U.S. history is all that important, either.

This week, state Board of Education members voted to seek public comment on a proposed change to their Policy 2510, which includes requirements for graduation from high school.

Among proposals is one that appears to eliminate a world history class requirement for graduation. In addition, counties would be able to reduce the current mandate of two U.S. history classes down to one.

At the heart of the plan is an attempt to give students and school systems more flexibility. Twenty-two credits would still be required to graduate — but only 10 of those would be in areas mandated by the state.

If the change is made, the only state-required classes would be two in mathematics, two in English language arts, two in science, two in social studies and one each in physical education and health.

A student could comply with the state rules in two years or less, then spend the final two years of high school taking only classes that interested him or her.

We know most Mountain State students don’t do well on the state’s standardized test. Last time around, fewer than 39% of students tested demonstrated proficiency in math. Well under 50% were proficient in reading and science. The state doesn’t even test on social studies. Perhaps state officials are scared of what the results would be.

Flexibility — the goal of proposed changes in Policy 2510 — is important. So is an adequate knowledge base. Results on standardized tests, as well as the fact that many new college students have to take remedial courses in key subjects, tell us too many young West Virginians aren’t getting the educations they need.

Our answer? Require less instruction in the fundamentals.

Back to world history. We know an increasing percentage of young Americans agree with the far-left that what our country needs is more socialism. World history demonstrates conclusively that state control of an economy just doesn’t work. It can have disastrous results. And we don’t think that’s something high school students ought to learn?

And even as some politicians complain vociferously about bigotry, we don’t want our teenagers to be taught about what can happen when it is state policy? No wonder the corrections trainees didn’t see anything wrong with parodying the Nazi salute.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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