We all know that Arizona has turned into a GOP dreamland. The state that literally dragged their feet to acknowledge Dr. MLK Jr.’s birthdays has miraculously managed to drag their residents further back in time all in the name of being patriotic.
In just the first week of Legislative session, lawmakers sent HB 2064, the American Civics Act, to Gov. Doug Ducey in an effort to ensure Arizona high school graduates have a basic understanding of United States civics and history.
Ducey signed the bill late afternoon Jan. 15 after delivering his State of the State address to West Valley leaders and citizens.
He said at that address, “Every child in this country should be educated in the principles of freedom.”
The legislation will be implemented in the 2016-17 school year and require all Arizona High School students to take and pass the US Citizenship Civics test, the same test all immigrants applying for citizenship must pass, with a 60 percent or better grade as a condition for graduation.
Students will be able to take the test on the first day of high school or the last day, and as many times as necessary to pass and schools will be allowed to administer it as they see fit. A well-established test that has free study materials is available online, so there will be no additional cost to the schools or taxpayers.
“As stated by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and mentioned by Gov. Doug Ducey in his state-of-the-state address, civics deficiency is the ‘quiet crisis’ in education,” said House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro, the primary sponsor of the legislation. “I’m excited to have worked with Gov. Ducey and my fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle, to make Arizona the first state in the country with such a requirement for high school graduation.”
Montenegro appeared the morning of Jan. 16 on national television to explain the bill, and confirmed to the reporter that he tutored his own parents for the civics exam when they were preparing to become U.S. citizens.
Recent reports revealed that Arizona and Oklahoma students scored significantly lower than others across the U.S. in civics tests.
Two-thirds of students tested below proficient on the civics portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress in both 2006 and 2010. According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which administers the test as part of the naturalization process, 92 percent of immigrants who take the test pass it on their first try.