- California solar panel mandate bears watching (2/19/19)
- Proposed small change could have big long-term results (2/12/19)
- Take the long view on your tax returns (2/11/19)
- It's a good time to catch up on those classics you missed (2/7/19)
- Effort aims to keep more food dollars in state (2/6/19)
- Fort McPherson National Cemetery holds special place (2/5/19)
- Brewers get heartburn from corn backlash (2/4/19)
Requiring basic civics knowledge should be no-brainer
It's not really fair to judge people by the way they react when a TV crew points a camera at their face and asks questions like "Would you like to congratulate North Korea on their detonation of a hydrogen bomb?" Or, "Do you support Hillary Clinton's proposal to implement Sharia law?"
Unsuspecting passers-by provide great entertainment as they attempt to answer those types of questions on Jimmy Kimmel's "Lie Witness News" segments and similar YouTube videos, but they do make a more serious point.
Many of us don't know basic facts about the world in general and our country in particular.
Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha has taken up the cause of the Joe Foss Institute, which succeeded in persuading legislatures in Idaho, Utah, Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and South Carolina to require basic citizenship knowledge before students can graduate from high school.
Under Krist's proposal, students would have to answer at least 70 percent of the U.S. citizenship test questions correctly to graduate. If passed, it would go into effect during the 2017 school year, helping the Joe Foss Institute reach is goal of having similar legislation in all 50 states by that year.
Schools have shifted their efforts toward STEM classes -- science, technology, engineering and math -- and that's important for our country to remain competitive.
But it's just as important for those newly-minted scientists, engineers and mathematicians to have a basic knowledge of our Constitution and their duty as American citizens.
Only 23 percent of eighth-graders who took the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam scored well enough to be considered proficient in civics last year, and 26 percent were considered "below basic," according to the U.S. Department of Education.
"Teaching to the test" has fallen out of favor with many aspects of the "No Child Left Behind" law, but testing to prove a student has received a basic civics education is a no-brainer.
But how qualified are you to be a U.S. citizen? Try a practice citizenship test here: http://1.usa.gov/1PppgX6 to find out.