Why are Governor O’Malley and Maryland legislators going out of their way to anger the state’s school teachers and jeopardize students’ reading performance? The budget that has been offered by the Governor and is now in the General Assembly drops the state’s high school exit exam in American government. This is a test Maryland teachers are enthusiastic about, in part because the existence of the test gives the subject of government standing in the curriculum and keeps it from getting sidelined by more test prep in reading and math skills.
Also, if Maryland wants to maintain its impressive performance on the NAEP reading test the state would be wise to hang on to the American government test. Evidence shows that it is by increasing students’ knowledge of a wide range of subjects, including civics, that students become better readers. Dropping the test may not only guarantee that Maryland high schoolers will graduate knowing less about our nation’s government, but that they will be poorer readers, too. Is that a gamble Maryland’s elected leaders are willing to take?