Sen. Tom Coburn, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Former Rep. Dan Boren, & Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum Announce Oklahoma Civics Education Initiative
State Legislative Effort Supported By Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Carl Bernstein, & Award-Winning Actor Joe Mantegna
OKLAHOMA CITY – Honoring the anniversary of United States Constitution, signed on this date in 1787, United States Senator Tom Coburn, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Former Congressman Dan Boren and Tulsa Councilor G.T. Bynum today announced the Oklahoma Civics Education Initiative. This state legislative effort aims to ensure all Oklahoma high school graduates have a basic understanding of American civics and history.
“Our country has endured because of the wisdom of our founding fathers and the system of government they established,” said Senator Coburn. “Everyone should have a basic understanding of American civics and why our country has prevailed for more than 200 years. The Civics Education Initiative seeks to ensure that our young people understand what makes America great.”
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.
The Oklahoma Civics Education Initiative will promote an active and engaged citizenry by requiring that all Oklahoma high school students and those seeking general educational development equivalency (GED) 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.
“We can do better for this generation of students,” said Attorney General Scott Pruitt. “This initiative is a concrete first step to ensuring that Oklahoma high school students graduate with the fundamental knowledge to become engaged citizens. Those who are educated about our government, by and large, participate at a higher rate.”
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?
To date the CEI has seen broad support across the state. Co-Chairs of the Oklahoma Civics Education Initiative include U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, former Congressman Dan Boren, and Tulsa City Councilman G.T. Bynum.
Six other states today are announcing similar state legislative efforts including Arizona, Missouri, Louisiana, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah. The goal of the Civics Education Initiative is for every state in the nation to pass this legislation by September 17, 2017 – the 230th anniversary of the Constitution.
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. (National Board Video Message)
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.