A new Tennessee law requires the state’s high school students not only take but pass a high school civics test.
As Chalkbeat.org reported, Tennessee high school students previously only had to take the test to graduate. Now, they must also pass the exam.
No one at the Tennessee Department of Education returned The Tennessee Star’s repeated requests for comment by voicemail and email Tuesday.
Specifically, The Star asked to see an example of the test, information about who will take the test, and what are the consequences for performing poorly.
According to Chalkbeat.org, however, the questions are varied and detailed.
“From the Declaration of Independence to the U.S. Supreme Court, the 50 questions are drawn from the citizenship test administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,” the website reported.
“Students must get at least 70 percent right to receive their diploma, and they can take the online test multiple times. The goal is to build a more informed citizenry.”
The Johnson City Press quoted various state officials and educators about the test.
According to the paper:
• Tennessee State Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, said the exam is “one way of teaching Tennessee kids the importance of our God-given liberties and about our countries founding.”
• Tennessee State Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, told the publication he knows “civics instruction will solidify the academic foundations for our current and future leaders.”
• Washington County Schools’ Secondary and Technical Education Director Ashley Keys said that “by requiring students to pass the civics exam as a graduation requirement, students will be able to make informed decisions and better understand civic responsibility. Civics education is essential when promoting active civic engagement in youth.”
Sponsors of the original legislation included, among many others, State Rep. Terry Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster and State Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville.
Science Hill High School Assistant Principal Carmen Bryant reportedly told The Johnson City Press the test will “better prepare students” for political life.
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