THE LAST WORD: Can you pass test Kruse wants to require of high schoolers?
Indiana’s Republican state senator from Auburn, Dennis Kruse, has pushed a bill for several years that would require Hoosier high school students to pass the same basic history and civics examination we require all new citizens to pass.
Senate Bill 132 unanimously passed through the House Committee on Education Wednesday. The legislation passed the Senate in January. The bill will now move to the full House of Representatives for consideration. The legislation would require the state to administer an exam to students in grades eight through 12, consisting of material identical to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services exam given to those seeking U.S. citizenship. Schools would be directed to administer the test as part of the coursework in the one-semester U.S. government class that students already must complete to receive a high school diploma.
“Studies show that people in our country do not know basic civics, which is why we need measures in place to guarantee our students are retaining this information in school,” Kruse said. “If we’re requiring those seeking citizenship in the U.S. to know this material, we need to ensure our students know the same information, and I believe this exam would help resolve this issue.”
The Joe Foss Institute, which created and launched the Civics Education Initiative in 2014, reports that about 93 percent of those who take the test seeking citizenship pass it. But they have also found that only one-third of native-born Americans can name the three branches of government; eight in 10 cannot name even two rights granted by the Declaration of Independence and only one in five of our eighth-graders scored proficient in civics and history.
The institute has provided the civics examination on its website for life-long Americans to test themselves on the very basic standard for civic knowledge. It provides a choice of 10-, 25- and 100-question tests you can take to see what you know. Below is the 10-question version.
To see how you did or to take the longer version of the civics test, visit https://joefossinstitute.org and go to the U.S. Citizenship Test link under civics and curriculum.
1. What is the supreme law of the land? A. The Constitution; B. The Bill of Rights; C. The Declaration of Independence; D. The Articles of Confederation
2. What does the Constitution do? A. Sets up the government; B. Defines the government; C. Protects the basic rights of Americans; D. All of the above.
3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words? A. We the People; B. The United States; C. We are free; D. No more King.
4. What is an amendment? A. A change or an addition (to the Constitution); B. A document that proclaims rights; C. A law that all people must follow; D. A list of the king’s responsibilities.
5. What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution? A. The Law of Men; B. The List of Rights; C. The Bill of Rights; D. The Rights of Men.
6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment? A. Speech; B. Assembly; C. Petitioning the government; D. All of the above.
7. How many amendments does the Constitution have? A. Thirteen (13); B. Fifty (50); C. Twenty-seven (27); D. Thirty (30).
8. What did the Declaration of Independence do? A. Solidified our relationship with Great Britain; B. Announced trading plans with Great Britain; C. Declared our independence from France; D. Declared our independence from Great Britain.
9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence? A. Life and land ownership; B. Liberty and land ownership; C. Life and liberty; D. The pursuit of happiness and the right of rebellion
10. What is freedom of religion? A. You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion; B. You can practice any religion from a list provided by Great Britain; C. You can practice religion without being charged money; D. You can talk about other people’s religions
Kerry Hubartt is former editor of The News-Sentinel.