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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I thank the chairman for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, like many of my colleagues, I support H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. I believe that States and school districts should be empowered to set their own priorities when educating our Nation's children. I also believe in supporting Florida's parents, teachers, and administrators to make sure that they have the resources necessary to give our children a world-class education, including in civics.
Civics education, Mr. Chairman--the study of the rights and the duties of citizenship under our government--is an essential component to sustaining our constitutional democracy. There is no more important task than the development of an informed, effective, and responsible citizenry.
According to the 2010 National Assessment for Educational Progress--our Nation's report card--only 24 percent of high school seniors scored proficient in civics. That means that they had problems with the U.S. Constitution, civil rights, our social system, and our court system. Only 22 percent of eighth graders scored proficient, meaning that they could not recognize the role performed by the Supreme Court or identify the purpose of the Bill of Rights.
Civics education programs like Close Up aim to improve the dismal results by allowing students and their teachers to participate in activities here in our Nation's Capital to increase civic responsibility and a true understanding of the Federal Government. Civic engagements activities are essential. They're important for underserved populations like in my congressional district. I support programs that allow elementary school and secondary school students to improve academic achievement through civics education.
So I'm glad that the Student Success Act empowers States and school districts to determine their own priorities, and I urge support for specific programs like civic education.
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