Lawmaker’s proposed bill requires high school students pass a citizenship test in order to graduate

An Indiana state senator is recommending high school students pass a citizenship test in order to graduate.

Sen. Dennis Kruse is proposing a bill that requires students in public high school to pass a 100-question citizenship test in order to officially graduate, The Journal Gazette reported.

The same examination used by immigrants to become legal U.S. citizens would be administered to the students if Senate Bill 132 passes. The same bill proposed in 2015 was defeated by the full Senate.

“There is a deficiency in government and civics knowledge, and it’s getting worse,” the Indiana Republican told The Journal Gazette.

Currently, eight states have similar requirements and others require the exam but don’t base graduation on the results. Under Kruse’s proposed legislation, students may take the civics test as many times as need from grades 8 through 12 until they pass.

“This is not a partisan issue. The test is not partisan,” Micah Clark, of the American Family Association of Indiana said.

Former New York Congresswoman Nan Hayworth supports the bill and believes it is important for the “future” og=f the nation.

“For the future of our great representative Democracy, the number one thing that we really need to do is have our citizens understand what the Constitution has given us,” the former Republican lawmaker said on “Fox & Friends” Saturday.

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She connected the drop in civics education in the country to the rising push towards socialism, saying students “don’t understand what it means to have government control every aspect of our lives.”

Not everyone is in favor of the idea, however, with some education groups opposing the proposed legislation.

Ken Folks, chief of governmental affairs for the Indiana Department of Education, sees the test as just a form of memorization for students rather than analyzing information.

“The standards require the students to learn the material at a greater depth of knowledge, than just a test that asks for memorization,” Folks said, according to The Journal Gazette.

“When we take a test for memorization, how much of that can we actually apply?” Sally Sloane, of the American Federation of Teachers, asked, touting the standards already in place being used by teachers.

A national survey released in October by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation found that only one in three Americans – or 36 percent – would pass the U.S. Citizenship Test. A major discrepancy could be seen in the different age groups, with only 19 percent of those under 45 years old being able to pass the test.

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Hayworth found the “generational drop-off” figures were dramatic and contended that it’s “crucial” for students to understand the what the limited responsibilities of federal and state governments are.

“If we fail to understand that, we are doomed to [a] downward spiral,” she said.

Frieda Powers


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