FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Hoosier lawmakers have joined a growing number of states that want your kid to take another exam. To graduate high school, students would have to pass an exam similar to the naturalization test required for immigrants to become U.S. citizens.
Still a work in progress, the bill will come up for debate during the upcoming legislative session and is being championed by Indiana Senate Education Chairman Dennis Kruse, a Republican of Auburn.
Kruse told The Daily Signal that he’s eager to see Indiana students rise to the same standard as individuals applying for American citizenship.
“I don’t know why our own young people—who are born citizens here, who go through our regular school system—shouldn’t know the same information,” Kruse said.
The naturalization exam administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires a candidate to verbally answer 6 of 10 questions concerning American history and government. On average, 91 percent of candidates pass on their first try.
The test requires citizenship candidates to answer basic questions like “What is the supreme law of the land?” and “What is the name of the president of the United States now?”
5 percent of students in Arizona and Oklahoma passed similar civics tests.
Hoosier high-school students would take a similar exam but with a few important differences. Required to answer 60 percent correctly, students would take a written, multiple choice, 100-question test.
The Indianapolis Star reports that less than 5 percent of students in Arizona and Oklahoma passed similar tests. Kruse said he’s more optimistic for Hoosier students.
More than 15 other state legislatures are considering similar measures in 2015. Sam Stone of the Civics Education Initiative believes they meet a critical need.
“No matter how much knowledge you have,” Stone told the Indianapolis Star, ”if you don’t know how to use that knowledge within our system of government, it’s not much good.”
“We have an incredibly dangerous form of government for people who don’t know how it works” he said.
The Civic Education Initiative aims to pass similar bills in every state by Sept. 17, 2017, to commemorate the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.