Teach U.S. citizens more about U.S. history, laws?

Stephen Idol, 13, South Charlotte Middle School, Charlotte: To me, it is embarrassing to know that immigrants know more about our history than many native-born Americans do. Many think that our history doesn't matter because they don't think it affects people today. IT DOES! Those who forget history will repeat its mistakes. We must take time to learn more about our past. Schools should put history in the end-of-grade testing requirements.

Manal Mahmoud, 15, Myers Park High, Charlotte: History is the foundation of the identity of nations. That is why it is critical for many to know this country's history. Knowlege of history makes an individual fit better in a new society. Schools should emphasize historical education more in classes. Most history classes are not attractive [because of] the way it is taught and delivered.

Marcel Souffrant, 14, Myers Park High, Charlotte: It is very important to be aware of the culture of any place where you are a citizen of. I believe when we are at the age of 18, we should take a test proving our knowledge. If one fails the test, it should prevent one from holding certain positions of power. People complain about immigrants taking “our” positions, but it is only because they have studied and taken time to learn our culture.

Dane Keil, 16, home-schooled, Charlotte: That many Americans do not know much about our own country is a sobering revelation about the flaws in public education. These flaws are a serious impediment to becoming an informed citizen, which is vital for the creation of a better nation. By being informed, we are able, as a society, to learn from the mistakes of the past, understand the current laws, and vote more intelligently.