Editorial: Minimum requirements - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL


Editorial: Minimum requirements

The Joe Foss Institute says one third of Americans can't name the three branches of government. (Source: File video) The Joe Foss Institute says one third of Americans can't name the three branches of government. (Source: File video)

The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 News General Manager Collin Gaston, which first aired on Monday, Feb.13, 2017.

Two north Alabama lawmakers would like to make it a requirement that Alabama students pass a citizenship civics exam in order to graduate high school.  Senator Arthur Orr and Representative Terri Collins, both from Decatur, are concerned about students having a "deficit" of knowledge regarding our country’s history and government.

As proposed, the bill would require Alabama students answer a minimum of 60 questions out of 100 correctly in order to pass. These questions are those used on the civics portion of the naturalization test immigrants take to become a U.S. citizen. Results show that 93 percent of the immigrants applying pass the test, while only 65 percent of native-born Americans answer the same questions correctly.

According to the Joe Foss Institute, only one 10 third of Americans can name the three branches of government and 8 in 10 cannot name two rights granted by the Bill of Rights. Fifteen states have already passed civics legislation with approximately 20 more considering it this year.

The bill failed last year due in part to some legislators feeling this civics test mandate could result in the lowering in the graduation rate for Alabama students.  Personally, I think requiring a student to achieve only a 60 percent grade to be eligible for graduation is not a daunting mandate. Furthermore, this bill if passed should prove to help future generations of Alabamians become more responsible and more engaged citizens. Let your lawmaker’s hear from you if you agree.

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