Arizona’s civics test ‘has legs’

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.47.30 AMBy Alan Greenblatt | Governing magazine

Sal Esquivel was watching TV one night when he saw a bunch of people interviewed on the street about civics. He was appalled by what he heard.

“They asked this one lady — she was probably 30 — who was president during World War I,” he recalled. “She said, ‘George Washington.'”

Esquivel is in a position to try to do something about this. He’s a member of the Oregon House, where he’s introduced legislation to require high school students to pass the same citizenship exam taken by naturalized immigrants.

North Dakota and Arizona have already made passage of citizenship exam a requirement for high school graduation. Similar bills are pending in 19 states, according to the Joe Foss Institute, an Arizona-based educational organization promoting the idea.

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