Higher educational institutions; graduation requirements, course in Western civilization, etc. (HB1452)

Introduced By

Del. Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) with support from co-patron Del. Chris Peace (R-Mechanicsville)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Public institutions of higher education; graduation requirements; course in Western civilization or U.S. history. Requires each student at each public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth to complete a three credit hour course in Western civilization or U.S. history. The bill exempts from such requirement any student who has received a score of 4 or better on an Advanced Placement examination in U.S. history. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


12/02/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17100842D
12/02/2016Referred to Committee on Education
01/12/2017Impact statement from DPB (HB1452)
01/13/2017Assigned Education sub: Higher Education
01/24/2017Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
02/07/2017Left in Education


Waldo Jaquith writes:

Oh, come on. This is not the appropriate role of the General Assembly.

Sidney Newton writes:

I realize that many bills are proposed as a kind of posturing by politicians but, honestly, this should really get a prize. Even taking seriously the implied claim that Virginia public institutions are graduating students ignorant of history (someone saw a humor segment on Leno?) why is it either Western Civilization OR U.S. History at the college level to be exempted only by AP U.S. History at the High School level? AP U.S. History and Western Civilization are not the same thing after all. What, precisely, does the Senator accuse Virginia graduates of not knowing?

You should oppose this bill for several reasons.

1) This not solving any clear problem. Virginia Universities already require such courses. The Senator's apparent conflation of Western Civilization and U.S. History further confuses things. If the Senator simply wishes to insult our fine institutions and their graduates then a muckraking speech is a far better forum.

2) An AP exam score of 3 represents a passing grade. While many schools do not offer credit for scores of 3 some do. The Senator's bill would insert the legislature into the teaching process in an unacceptable way. If the General Assembly passes legislation which asserts that the legislature shall determine what constitutes an acceptable grade on the AP test then they call into question the legitimacy of grades in the equivalent coursework offered by those institutions. Will the Senator also rescore and assess the exams of those currently receiving credit for such courses while in college?

3) This amounts to a tax on the parents of college aged children and an increased cost to taxpayers in localities. If such courses are not required at all institutions for all degrees then students and their families will bear the cost of three credit hours deemed non-essential by the institution. Requiring me to buy something I do not need is a tax - I am sure the Senator has made such an argument about other government required purchases. As an alternative to paying this history 'tax' students could take a course and test and receive the GA mandated score. Not all schools in the Commonwealth offer AP U.S. History. How does the Senator propose to make that alternative available to more students? Will the cost of this just be left to localities or will the Senator work to develop another source of funds to provide teachers and course materials?

4) As Waldo Jaquith said, "Oh, come on."