A proposal to require high school students to pass, as a condition of graduation, the civics test taken by immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship will be introduced in the Indiana Senate when it meets Jan. 6.
The requirements of graduation should, at a minimum, be the same as those expected of immigrants, according to the lawmaker who will be sponsoring the bill, Education Committee chairman Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn), the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported.
“I believe that if we’re asking someone from a foreign country to know this information, that our own citizens ought to know it,” Kruse told the Courier.
He added that the bill, which is still being drafted, would “require all public and charter school students to correctly answer at least 60 percent of the 100 civics questions that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services uses to administer its naturalization test.”
The Courier reported:
Immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship are asked 10 of those 100 questions and must answer six correctly to pass.
The test includes basic American government and history questions, such as “Who was the first President?”, “Why does the flag have 13 stripes?” and “When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?”
Kruse said students would be able to take the test any time from 8th grade to 12th grade. Passing it would be a condition for receiving a diploma, he said.
There are approximately 15 states considering a similar proposal, according to the Civics Education Initiative political director Sam Stone. Is there a need for such a program? Consider the statistics compiled by the group, which is lobbying all 50 states to adopt these standards:
About 92 percent of immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship pass the test on their first try, Stone said, but studies in Arizona and Oklahoma have found that less than 5 percent of high school students passed the test.
“Those are really poor numbers,” Stone said.
Need further proof? Jesse Watters of Fox News recently gave 12 Philadelphians the citizenship test. Only three, or 25%, passed. Much better than the 5% cited by the Civics Education Initiative, but still pretty dismal, and Watters tested people of all ages — not just high schoolers. Story continues after clip.
The Courier reported:
The group’s [Civics Education Initiative] push for a new civics test is a reaction to the current emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, subjects, which he said has caused a “massive shift away from civics and social studies.”
“No matter how much knowledge you have, if you don’t know how to use that knowledge within our system of government, it’s not much good,” he said. “Our government was designed to be run by informed, engaged citizens. We have an incredibly dangerous form of government for people who don’t know how it works.”
Want to test your own knowledge? The Journal Courier offers an interactive 20-question test at the end of its article.
If you want more, TestGuide.com offers 9 citizenship practice tests.
(h/t: EAG News)