LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A new bill (HB 1539) passed in the Arkansas House today requiring high school students to pass the civics part of the U.S. naturalization test.
If they don't pass, they can't get a diploma or earn a G.E.D. The required exam is the same civics test used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. There are 100 possible questions to study involving both history and government.
The sponsor of the bill, Representative Bruce Cozart, said high school students aren't being taught important information.
“We need to be better citizens and we need to know more about our country and be proud of our country,” said Cozart.
He said some high school classes are teaching parts of the exam but they aren’t teaching enough of it. He said with a little studying, it’s easy to pass. Plus, students can keep taking the exam until they pass with at least a 60% score.
Representative Charles Blake voted against the bill. He said there's already enough testing in schools and that this adds an extra burden for students and teachers. He feels there’s a way to incorporate the information into the learning process in other ways. To him, another test, isn’t ideal.
“Let’s find a way where we're not testing kids, we're actually teaching them," said Blake.
The bill now heads to the Senate to be reviewed in a committee.
Click here for a link to the questions and answers on the exam.