Missouri Civics Education Initiative Unveiled to Promote Active and Engaged Citizenship
State Legislative Effort Supported By Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Carl Bernstein & Nine State Co-Chairs including former Missouri Governor Bob Holden
Jefferson City – Honoring the anniversary of United States Constitution, signed on this date in 1787, former Missouri Governor Bob Holden; Dan Mehan, President & CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry; former State Senator Glen Klippenstein and former state representatives Mike Talboy and Shane Schoeller today announced the Missouri Civics Education Initiative. This state legislative effort aims to ensure all Missouri high school graduates have a basic understanding of United States civics and history.
According to the Pew Research Center, only about one-third of Americans can name the three branches of the United States government, much less say what each does. Further, studies of high school students in Oklahoma and Arizona showed less than a four percent passage rate on the Unites States Citizenship Civics test – the test all immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship must pass. According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which administers the civics test as part of the naturalization process, 92 percent of immigrants who take the test pass it on their first try.
“Studies show too few citizens understand basic American civics and who we are as a nation,” said former Governor Bob Holden. “When citizens don’t understand how our government works, they’re not likely to vote or take part in policy decisions facing our state and nation – a critical problem that must be addressed with a sense of urgency.”
The Missouri Civics Education Initiative will promote an active and engaged citizenry by requiring all Missouri high school students and those seeking general educational development (GED) equivalency pass the 100-question civics test administered by USCIS. The state legislation will allow students to take the test any time during their high school career, and to take the test as many times as necessary to pass.
By using the well-established USCIS test, there will be no need or expense to create a new test or study materials, as these materials are already available online and for free. The legislation will allow individual schools to administer the test in a way the school as deems adequate to meet the requirements.
“The Civics Education Initiative is a fundamental first step toward ensuring all Missouri students understand the basic foundations of our government,” Dan Mehan, with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “Its simple in concept and it ensures that our high school graduates have the basic knowledge necessary for active, engaged citizenship.”
The USCIS Citizenship Civics test consists of 100 basic questions about American civics and history, such as:
What is the name of the President of the United States now?
Name one branch or part of the government.
What is the capital of your state?
What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?
According to USCIS, which administers the civics test as part of the naturalization process, 92 percent of immigrants who take it pass on their first try. Yet studies of high school students in Oklahoma and Arizona showed less than four percent passage rate on the Unites States Citizenship Civics test.
To date the Initiative has seen broad support across the state. Co-Chairs of the Missouri Civics Education Initiative include:
Former Missouri Governor Bob Holden
Glen Klippenstein, Former State Senator and Representative from Northwest Missouri
Mike Talboy, Former State Representative & Minority Floor Leader, current Director of Government Affairs with Burns & McDonnell
Shane Schoeller, Former State Representative & Speaker Pro Tem, current candidate for Greene County Clerk
Tony Feather, GOP Activist and political consultant
Maxine Clark, Founder of Build-A-Bear and education activist
Kelly Gillespie, Executive Director of Missouri Biotechnology Association
Eric Greitens, CEO of The Greitens Group, former Navy SEAL, award winning author `
Dan Mehan, President & CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Six other states today are announcing similar state legislative efforts including Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.
The Initiative’s national board of directors includes former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein, and actor Joe Mantegna who has been nominated for both Golden Globe and Emmy awards.
The Civics Education Initiative is an affiliate of the Joe Foss Institute, which was founded to educate American youth on the importance of our country’s unique freedoms, and to inspire them to public service. Joe Foss was a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, former governor of South Dakota, and first commissioner of the American Football League.
For questions contact Camille Anderson at Camille@civicseducationinitiative.com or 801-874-6497.