JANUARY 21, 2015

Civics Exam Bill heads to Gov. Ducey for signature

Arizona would be first state requiring high school students to pass test to graduate
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gov doug guceySTATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – In just the first week of Legislative session, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have sent HB 2064, the American Civics Act, to Governor Doug Ducey (l) in an effort to ensure Arizona high school graduates have a basic understanding of United States civics and history.

If signed into law, the legislation will be implemented in the 2016-17 school year and require all Arizona High School students to take and pass the U.S. 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 Governor 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 Governor 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.”

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.

Twelve other states are working towards similar legislative efforts. To view the Unites States Citizenship Civics test mentioned above, please visit www.uscis.gov.

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