By Bill Mattox, JMI Resident Fellow
My favorite course in junior high was a Civics class taught by a rather prickly (and very prissy) schoolteacher that annoyed just about every 7th Grader at our school. At some level, I’m sure I found this teacher every bit as obnoxious as the rest of my classmates. But I so loved the subject matter of that course that I actually looked forward to going to Civics every day. And I still get a little wistful anytime I hear the words, “Civics class.”Thanks to the State Legislature, many young Floridians will soon have the opportunity to take a Civics course like the one I took. Yesterday, Gov. Crist signed into law a new requirement that Florida students take a one-semester civics course at some point in middle school. Importantly, the law stipulates that students be taught: . . . the meaning and significance of historic documents, such as the Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, and Constitution of the United States.This emphasis on America’s founding documents is especially significant. For as many Americans are (re)discovering, what happens in Washington doesn’t stay in Washington. So, all of us citizens need to have a good understanding of how self-government is supposed to work.Kudos, then, to the Florida Legislature – most especially Rep. Charles McBurney of Jacksonville (who led the fight for this legislation). On behalf of all my former Civics classmates (and our prickly teacher), I salute you.