The Civics Education Initiative is simple in concept. It requires high school students, as a condition for graduation, to pass a test on 100 basic facts of U.S. history and civics, from the United States Citizenship Civics Test – the test all new U.S. citizens must pass.
The Civics Education Initiative is a first step to ensure all students are taught basic civics about how our government works, and who we are as a nation…concepts every student must learn to be ready for active, engaged citizenship. Of the now more than 30 states who’ve established new Civics proficiency requirements, more than half have incorporated the citizenship test into their assessment practices; some use it as a standalone test, while others use parts of the exam, or have added more material to create customized tests.
The Civics Education Initiative was created with three goals in mind: first and foremost to bring attention to this “quiet crisis” and ensure students graduate with the tools they need to become informed and engaged citizens; second, to bring civics back into classrooms across America; lastly, that the Civics Education Initiative should be the first step in expanding civic awareness and learning for our students – we don’t want them to stop with just this one program, but for the Civics Education Initiative to serve as a foundation for a reawakening of civic learning and engagement.
Unfortunately today, too few students are learning basic civics. In Arizona and Oklahoma studies, for example, the vast majority of high school students failed the same basic civics test that 91% of those applying for U.S. citizenship passed. That’s why we need to pass the Civics Education Initiative in all 50 states.
If we want our political process more open and free, with a truly informed citizenry, our young people need to learn real-time civics and real history…that way they can take pride in our country based on the complexities, and the richness, and the real contradictions in the American story.
The people who favor this have widely differing political beliefs, but they share the belief that it is important for all Americans to know about the first principals of our constitutional government.
Let’s make this something that all Americans can get behind, because it’s about our country’s future, and our children’s knowledge of the past to lead them to the future that’s important.
Think of it: People from all over the world legally immigrating to the United States, many speaking different languages, are passing this basic American history and civics test – in English – while too few of our own students can.
The success of our republic depends on an informed and engaged citizenry