BY: Citizens Count
Rep. Rick Ladd of Haverhill is the prime sponsor of 2016 legislation that would change state law to exclude civics and other social studies from the statewide assessment. HB 1121 specifies that "the statewide academic areas to be assessed shall include reading and language arts, mathematics, and science," but not history, geography, civics, or economics.
This is consistent with the current statewide assessments, which do not include any social studies.
Supporters of civics education testing argue that today’s students do not know enough about basic government to become effective citizens. Including civics in the statewide assessment would create an incentive for teachers to spend more time on civics in the classroom.
On the other hand, opponents counter that requiring civics education as a subject for statewide assessment will only test rote memorization and not the critical thinking skills needed for engaged citizenship. Others oppose any efforts to expand the statewide assessment program, which is currently based on the much-maligned Common Core curriculum.