Public education officials in Mississippi may scrap a required U.S. history test for high school students, a decision that is seconded by an analyst who is often critical of state leaders.
"The current test is a waste of classroom time,” says Jameson Taylor, “whose primary value is to enrich a testing company at the expense of state taxpayers.”
Taylor, a spokesman for the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, points out that what is described as “U.S. history” begins in 1870 and therefore has no “defenders” of the current state test.
The state Commission on School Accreditation voted unanimously on August 19 to recommend the state Board of Education drop the U.S. history test.
Mississippi public school students formerly had to pass state-mandated exams in history, English, algebra and biology to graduate but there are now alternate routes to graduation according to The Associated Press.
Even with those changes, some Mississippi students fail earn a diploma because they failed one or more tests, the AP stated.
The state Board of Education plans to seek public comment before voting later this year.
By beginning the history course in 1870, Taylor, points out, students are not tested on the U.S. Constitution and the Revolutionary War, and dating back farther than that the self-governance theme established in the Mayflower Compact, penned by the Pilgrims in 1620.
According to Taylor, there is a good test to give the state’s high school seniors: the 100-question U.S. citizenship exam.