Gov. Doug Ducey (R) just signed the new law, ahead of a number of other states that are expected to consider doing the same thing. An organization based in Scottsdale, the Joe Foss Institute, has set a goal to have all 50 states require a civics test for graduation by 2017, according to the Associated Press.
The AP quoted Steve Yarbrough, the Republican Majority Leader of the Arizona Senate, as saying that requiring the test was essentially a no-brainer: “How can we expect them to protect the principles on which this country was founded, if we are not preparing them for that task right now?”
Critics said that not only would the test be a a cost to the state when it already has fiscal troubles, but that it would only lead students to memorize facts rather than understand concepts.
“The interest is promoting civics and we want to see students engaged,” high school government teacher Joe Thomas of Mesa was quoted as saying. “I don’t know if a test engages students.”
Starting next school year, Arizona high school students will have to take a 100-question test and get at least 60 correct.
A 60 percent on most tests is an F, but never mind.