By Deborah Williams
Washington Post writer Reid Wilson reports that Arizona legislators have passed a law that requires high school students to pass the same citizenship test that immigrants must pass in order to graduate from high school. Students must answer correctly 60 of the 100 questions on United States government and history. Even though the Civics Education Initiative is seeking to have similar legislation in several states, Arizona is the first to make this requirement.
The Initiative is trying to change the woeful lack of knowledge about civics among most Americans. A 2011 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center noted the following examples in its findings:
- 15% could identify the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts
- 13% knew that the U.S. Constitution was signed in 1787
- 38% could name the three branches of the U.S. government
Here are some of the questions on the test:
- How many amendments does the U.S. Constitution have?
- If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
- The Secretary of the Treasury
- The President Pro Tempore of the Senate
- The Secretary of State
- The Speaker of the House
- Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
- To provide schooling and education
- To make treaties
- To issue driver’s licenses
- To build roads
- Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
- Benjamin Franklin
- Thomas Jefferson
- John Jay
- John Adams
- How long is a U.S. Senator’s term?
- 2 years
- 6 years
- 4 years
- 8 years
Answers: 1) c 2) d 3) b 4) b 5) b