High school students who snoozed through civics class may want to start cracking the books if one New Jersey lawmaker gets his way.
Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) plans to introduce a bill that would allow school districts to require seniors to pass for graduation the same 10-question civics test taken by applicants for U.S. citizenship. (Singleton last week introduced a bill that would make 100-question tests mandatory in all school districts, but said he accidentally filed the wrong version and plans to change it).
Just like on the immigration test, students would need to correctly answer six of the 10 questions, which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services chooses from a list of 100.
“I think so many folks in our country have fought and died for us to have these freedoms and understand everything it is to be an American,” Singleton said. “And I think from our perspective ensuring that our children have a deeper understanding of that as they move on and matriculate through high school is important.”
The non-profit Civics Education Initiative, recently launched an effort to get every state to require high school students pass the tests. Sam Stone, its campaign manager, said 10 to 12 states are currently considering such legislation.
Among the potential questions:
• Name one branch of the government.
• What is the economic system in the United States?
• The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
Those might seem like easy questions, but consider that a September survey of 1,416 U.S. adults by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that 35 percent could not name a single branch of government, while just 36 percent could name all three.
And just so you don’t think this is the law in New Jersey yet, here’s a civics lesson: It still must pass state Senate and Assembly, and finally be approved by Gov. Chris Christie, who also has the option of not vetoing it and simply allowing it to pass into law.