Published: Apr 22, 2010 3:35 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The state of Florida is close to requiring a government civics class for all middle school students in the state.

Both the Florida House and Senate unanimously passed a measure requiring middle school students to pass a semester-long civics course in order to be promoted to high school.  Students would be required to know the roles and responsibilities of government, and the significance and meaning of historic documents.

"Personally, as a mom of three kids, if they don't understand how government works and what they're getting into as they get older, how can they be active citizens?" said mother Rachael Mather-Bradford.

"I think they should know the basics, they should know who the president is, where the state capital is," said parent Pam Lemmerman.

"It's important, I don't know if it should be a requirement for advancing to the next grade.  That kind of thing should be covered in any history class," said Spencer Cordell of Fort Myers.

The civics class bill is awaiting Governor Charlie Crist's signature.  It would take effect starting with the 2012-2013 school year.