This legislation will ensure students graduate with the tools they need to become informed and engaged citizens; it’s about patriotism.
Arizona high school students might soon have to pass the same 100-question U.S. Citizenship Civics Test administered to immigrants under a new proposal by State Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield.
Rep. Montenegro is currently crafting the legislation that will be addressed in the legislature during the next session, starting in January. Under the proposed legislation, students would be allowed to take the test any time during their high-school careers and as many times as necessary to pass. By using this existing and well-established test and its study materials that are already available for free online, the cost would be minimal.
The proposed legislation is part of a nationwide movement to boost civics education sponsored by the Joe Foss Institute, a Scottsdale, Ariz. based nonprofit that promotes teaching about public service and patriotism. The legislation is labeled the Civics Education Initiative and is being introduced in six other states.
The goal is for all 50 states to pass such legislation by Sept. 17, 2017 — the 230th anniversary of the Constitution.
Arizona’s legislation was unveiled Wednesday on the 227th anniversary of the majority of the delegates signing the U.S. Constitution. But Lucia Spataro, president of the Joe Foss Institute, said the problem it seeks to address has been a long time coming in what he called the “perfect storm of changing academic emphasis.”
“Civics and social studies and history are being boxed out of the classroom to some extent,” he said.
“What we have is a very narrow curriculum right now focused on science, technology, engineering and math, which is really important stuff, but not so important that you don’t need to know how to run the country,” said Spataro. “Or learn how the country operates. Or vote.”
Montenegro said more than 96 percent of a sample group of high school students in Arizona and Oklahoma given the test failed to get a passing grade.
Former Arizona Sens. Jon Kyl and Dennis DeConcini also support what has become a national effort to goose up the level of knowledge about how our government works.
In a statement, they wrote:
“For the sake of our next generation, we can and must do better. That’s why we are pleased to join former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to be among the co-chairs of the Arizona effort to pass state legislation known as the Civics Education Initiative.”
For those willing to help ensure that the Civics Education Initiative passes in Arizona; contact your legislator and urge them to support this critical state legislation.
A 25-question practice test is available to citizens for a study tool. Click here to take the test.