Iowa Bill: Students Don’t Need to Learn About Voting

Igor Volsky
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Sunday 10 March 2013
Under the measure, public high school students in Iowa would learn about “national, state, county, and local governments” without receiving instruction in voting procedures or methods.
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Iowa state Rep. Pat Grassley (R) — the grandson of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — introduced a bill earlier this week that increases the amount of instruction in government and “the tenets of American citizenship” in the state’s high school social studies curriculum, but specifically eliminates “the high school social studies requirement to teach voting procedures.”

Under the measure, public high school students in Iowa would learn about “national, state, county, and local governments” without receiving instruction in voting procedures or methods:

This bill increases the amount of instruction in government required as part of the state’s high school social studies curriculum from one-half unit to one unit. The bill adds instruction in the federal system of government; the overlapping features and responsibilities of the national, state, county, and local governments; and the tenets of American citizenship to the subjects required in the instruction in government. The bill adds the principles of American citizenship to the required subjects for assessment as part of the instruction in government.

The bill strikes requirements that high school students receive instruction in voting statutes and procedures, voter registration requirements, the use of paper ballots and voting systems in the election process, and the method of acquiring and casting an absentee ballot.

As Progress Iowa’s Matt Sinovic put it, “If [Grassley] doesn’t think voting is a principle of American citizenship, then what is? Nothing is more fundamental to being American or Iowan than exercising our right to vote.” The organization has launched a petition against the measure.



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5 comments on "Iowa Bill: Students Don’t Need to Learn About Voting"

aminahyaquin's picture
aminahyaquin

March 11, 2013 11:24am

This is a good law. It could have been a great law, for the procedures of voting are important. However it is far more important that every student in our nation learns the fundamental principles of American government. It is the only way to protect our nation from plutocracy and the undermining of the United States Constititution.
In a participatory democratic republic this should be required learning from the fifth grade. The law does not go far enough.

Diogenes11

March 11, 2013 1:21am

If this school teaches Civics, I am a happy camper. Most schools have dropped the subject. Nor do they teach current events. It would always be helpful to teach kids how to vote, but most ballots are quite plain about how to use the machine.

greenriverkate

March 10, 2013 1:24pm

I am VERY old and learn it is my duty as a citizen of this country to vote from my parents. They also told me if I didn't vote, shut the hell up cause I was part of the problem. Nope, didn't learn the importance of voting in school but did take many courses on governments, both state and federal! If ya don't know how the government works, then you have failed as a citizen of the country. Too many THINK the POTUS can do as he pleases and does, What an ignorant thought. Blame Congress, you know, the ones that take a year around vacation, a life long pension, free medical and don't have to follow one law they pass!

RonniV

March 10, 2013 10:41am

If Grassley has his way in Iowa, you had better believe the GOP will be pushing for similar changes throughout this country. If people don't know HOW to vote, many will not vote. Isn't that just what the GOP wants?

anono

March 10, 2013 10:25am

The Fundamentals of Voting 101 Should be a requirement for a high school students across the nation.