Opinion
Assessment Letter to the Editor

Students Should Pass Citizenship Test

November 06, 2012 1 min read

To the Editor:

In response to your article “Student Mastery of Civics Ed. Goes Untested” (Oct. 17, 2012): In order to become citizens of the United States, applicants must pass a test. Every 11th grader should be given the test and have the next year to learn what they failed.

It seems that not even a majority of Americans who are eligible to vote bother to do so. When I was teaching middle school, I realized that the kids had no idea who ran a city or the state. They sort of knew who the president was. They had no idea how the government worked. It seems a little late to start teaching this in high school.

People living in a democracy are supposed to be involved in the government.

My extended family had to take a test to see if they knew about our country before they were allowed to become citizens. The least we can expect from native-born Americans is that they can pass the same test.

I suggest they begin to learn in elementary school. They can take the test in 11th grade and if/when they fail, they have one more year to catch up. Or maybe we should have it earlier. If you don’t pass the test, you can’t get a driver’s license. That should get their attention.

Michael Carlsson

Philadelphia, Pa.

The author is a retired teacher.

A version of this article appeared in the November 07, 2012 edition of Education Week as Students Should Pass Citizenship Test

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