Magazine article Curriculum Review

States Propose Civics Test Requirement for All Outbound Graduates

Magazine article Curriculum Review

States Propose Civics Test Requirement for All Outbound Graduates

Article excerpt

After perhaps years of errant thoughts and small-time discussion between friends on the matter of whether or not an average American citizen knew much about his or her own country, lawmakers in Arizona have taken the step to ensure the answer to that question is "yes." In a controversial move, the state legislature has passed a law requiring students to pass a standard U.S. citizenship test in order to graduate high school, reported the New York Times.

The citizenship test that is given to newcomers and immigrants to the United States asks takers to identify Susan B. Anthony's contributions to American history and identify the Bill of Rights. While some see this as a positive method of measuring what students have learned in 12 years of schooling, others are not so sure.

Schoolteachers like Darcy White of Phoenix are hesitant: After so many years of standardize testing, the educators who are paying the most attention seem to agree that even the brightest students may not test well, and that "teaching to the test" is time-consuming and does not always allow for the over-arching intents of classroom instruction.

Others, however, particularly lawmakers in other states including North Dakota, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia and Massachusetts, are working similar bills through their legal systems.

Former congressman and current nonprofit president, Frank Riggs of the Joe Foss Institute, argues, "Our secondary schools have no greater mission than to prepare our young people to be informed, engaged citizens. …

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