Legislation to teach students about our history of freedom and democracy
We need legislation to teach our students about our enduring heritage of freedom and democracy
Why is it that 97.5% of all immigrants applying for citizenship PASS the civics exam, while one in three of us who were born here, FAIL?
The freedom created by our democracy cannot continue to exist unless each new generation is taught and understands both how and why that freedom must be preserved.
My first bill as a new Delegate in 2015 was HB 1200, State Board of Education - High School Assessment, requiring high school students to take and pass the same test that immigrants must pass in order to become citizens. The "liberal" supermajority Democrats wouldn't even all a committee vote on the bill. In subsequent years, Delegate Kathy Szeliga and I reintroduced the bill, but to no avail.
There is absolutely NO reason to reject this bill. The time, effort and expense of requiring this test are miniscule. The test is already written by the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Service, and is available on the Internet. The questions are all multiple choice, making grading fast and easy. And Indiana, for example, enacted the same bill for less than $30,000!
A favorite Democrat rationale for ignoring this bill was, 'it's just gross memorization -- we like to teach our students how to think how to reason.' This attitude neglects a salient point: in order to think and reason, you have to have the underlying facts to think about. How useful can your reasoning be if you are limited to philosophical ideas that have not been tested against the face of reality? Unfortunately, that is a big problem with today's leaders.
If you'd like to see what the students would be asked, there is a link to as sample test at the end of this page.
Today, ONE in THREE Native-Born citizens FAIL that test
The charts below show the questions most often missed by native-born Americans.
Some of the conclusions shown from the study are frightening. For example:
Only 29% can identify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land
More than ¾ of us cannot name one power of the states, and 59% can't name one power of the federal government
Less than half can identify the rights and responsibilities of citizenship
Only 61% know that "We the People" are the first three words of the Constitution
Middle-aged citizens have the highest pass rates.
The charts are from the U.S. Naturalization and Civics Test, National "Survey of Native-Born U.S. Citizens, March 2012, prepared by Center for the Study of the American Dream.