Originally created 07/22/02

Professors write government text

AIKEN - In South Carolina, a lack of knowledge about government might get the book thrown at you.

The book is the recently published South Carolina Government: An Introduction.

The authors of the 400-page text are state university professors who want to teach South Carolinians how to participate in a system that, like it or not, makes decisions on the public's behalf.

The professors hope the book will be used by teachers this fall as a supplement in middle school, high school and college classrooms.

South Carolina's public schools have no exclusive course on state government, although elements of it are taught in history and economics classes.

Dr. Charlie Tyer, a University of South Carolina government professor and the editor of the book, says that's insufficient.

"Basically, citizens have not been adequately prepared on how to be South Carolinians," Dr. Tyer said. "We expect them to vote but not be knowledgable."

He said state statistics mirror national findings:

  • Only about 20 percent of people 18-24 vote, compared with about 50 percent in 1972, according to a report from the National Association of Secretaries of State.
  • Just 57 percent of the nation's high school seniors could explain how state government affects society, the National Assessment of Educational Progress found in 1998.
  • Dr. Tyer said that, with freedoms and financial interests at stake, it pays to know about avenues for empowerment.

    USC Aiken political science professor Robert Botsch is one of the book's six other authors.

    Dr. Frank Roberson, the Aiken County schools' associate superintendent of instruction, said he had not heard of the book, but he said that it sounds like a useful resource and that he will review it.

    The book is part of a larger public service project Dr. Tyer initiated. The project has included supplemental training on state civics for teachers seeking recertification.

    The government awareness project was bankrolled by the state Legislature.


    Order forms for South Carolina Government: An Introduction can be downloaded at www.iopa.sc.edu/cfg. For classroom orders, call (803) 777-8156. Individual copies cost $40.

    Reach Eric Williamson at (803) 279-6895 or eric.williamson@augustachronicle.com.


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