Should Georgia high school students have to pass the U.S. Citizenship Test before they can graduate?

A bill passed by the Georgia State Senate yesterday would require Georgia High School students to pass the United States Citizenship Test — the same test given to new immigrants from other countries — before they could graduate from high school.

The Bill: Senate Bill 219 would require all Georgia High School students and older students seeking a GED to answer at least 60 percent of the questions on the U.S. Citizenship Test correctly before they can graduate. The bill also stipulates that students may re-take the test as many times as necessary to achieve that score.

According to the bill’s sponsor, the material on the test is already part of the high school history and civics curriculum, but the test would ensure students have the knowledge of civics to be informed citizens.

The Test: The existing citizenship test requires immigrants to answer six out of 10 questions correctly from a pool of 100 possible questions in order to become citizens. The Georgia test would pull from the same pool of 100 questions as the citizenship test, but the bill itself doesn’t set forth the number of questions Georgia students would be tested on.

Who Supports The Bill?: The entire Georgia senate. The bill was introduced by Jennifer Jordan, a democrat representing parts of Cobb and Fulton Counties. The bill passed unanimously in the state senate.

What’s Next For The Bill?: The bill will move to the House for consideration. If it passes, it goes to the governor’s desk. If Gov. Brian Kemp signs the bill into law, it will go into effect July 1. So, your high school junior may have an additional test to pass before graduating next year.

Background: The bill comes on the heels of a study that found that only 33 percent of Georgians would be able to pass the US citizenship test. Nationwide, only 40 percent of Americans could pass the test.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

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