Restructure test

It was with much concern that I read the article, “NIU students get a pass on civics test” in the Dec. 14, 1989 issue of the Chicago Tribune.

At a time that societies of Eastern Europe are attaining long sought-after freedoms, it makes me angry to perceive that we in the West have come to take these basic human needs for granted or no longer care to teach or to learn of these freedoms guaranteed us by the Constitution.

Having taken the Constitution test once in primary school, then again in high school, and then once more in college, I would not refute the point that the test demands to a large extent for one to “regurgitate” facts.

Therefore, rather than abandoning the idea of trying to educate the youth on the basic foundation of democratic principles in the United States, what obviously needs to be done is to restructure the test to have the student apply the principles of the Constitution. Or, require the student to take a class to learn what the writers wanted to express through the document.

Being a business student at NIU, I could see this as a hindrance to my graduation for the simple reason that it does not meet any of the class requirements or adds little to my business education.

At the same time, having seen East Berlin before the dramatic changes of last fall and looking at the events in Eastern Europe in retrospect, one concludes that the political and economic realms are interdependent and one must have an understanding of both in order to comprehend how each one works within a democratic society.

If there is anything I feel more ignorant about, whether I have not been taught or failed to take the initiative myself, it is the fact that I do not know what the Constitution actually means. To have the policy makers at NIU add to my or any other student’s ignorance would be a shame.

Friedrich H. Fiebig