Indiana bill proposes students pass US citizenship test before earning high school diploma

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An Indiana state senator wants high school students to pass a 100-question citizenship test to earn a diploma.
"There is a deficiency in government and civics knowledge and it's getting worse," Sen. Dennis Kruse, a Republican, told The Journal Gazette.

What is the proposal?

Kruse's proposed Senate Bill 132 would require students to pass the same test administered to people who want to become U.S. citizens, starting with the 2020-21 school year.
Kruse also introduced the bill in 2015, which was defeated by the full Senate. The House also considered the plan in 2015 but did not vote on it in committee, according to the news outlet.
Former New York Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, a Republican told Fox & Friends news on Saturday that she believes the bill is a great idea.
"For the future of our great representative Democracy, the number one thing that we really need to do is have our citizens understand what the Constitution has given us," the former Republican lawmaker said.
The Education Commission of the States has documented eight states that require students to pass a civics test to graduate, according to the report. Several other states give a civics test to high school students, but it is not a graduation requirement.
Students in states with the requirement "on average pass on the third attempt," the report states. Kruse's plan would allow students to take the exam up to three times from grades eight through 12.

What does the state teach?

Indiana teaches civics in the fifth, eighth, 11th and 12th grades. Students are required to have two credits of U.S. history and one credit of U.S. government to graduate from high school.
Micah Clark of the American Family Association of Indiana noted that surveys have shown some citizens cannot name the government branches and the history behind the Declaration of Independence.
"This is not a partisan issue. The test is not partisan," he said.
Some education groups oppose the bill.
Ken Folks, chief academic officer for the Indiana Department of Education, for example, told the Gazette Journal that a new graduation pathways program is already underway and legislators have said they want less testing, not more. He also said his department has developed a civics test that will be optional for schools to administer.

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