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Arizona Pushes for Civics Savvy Among American Youth

The American Civics Act mandates high school students can’t graduate until they pass the very same civics test given to candidates vying for U.S. citizenship.

Meet George, governmental guru and fan of the American Civics Act. Art Credit: "George Washington" by Rembrandt Peale, 1853.

Apparently Arizona, land of well-sunned cacti groves, the Grand Canyon, and rampant racial profiling, is looking to lead the charge on trying to ensure that future generations of American youth are civics savvy.


The American Civics Act was signed into effect in Arizona on Thursday night, mandating that, in order to graduate, high school students must pass the very same civics test given to candidates vying for U.S. citizenship. Students may first attempt the test upon entering eighth grade and retake it as many times as necessary until they succeed in correctly answering 60 of 100 questions on the exam which covers American government, American history, and integrated civics.

Sample questions students will be tested on include: How many amendments does the Constitution have? What are two [Presidential] Cabinet-level positions? Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States. Before Eisenhower was President, he was a general. Which war was he in? Name one of the writers of the Federalist Papers, which supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution.

In contrast, those contending for naturalization must answer six of 10 questions from the test, plucked by an immigration official during an in-person interview where they must also demonstrate their competence in English with reading, speaking, and writing assessments.

According to the Associated Press, the patriotism-pushing Joe Foss Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, is advocating for all 50 states to adopt the same legislation by 2017 “as a way to increase knowledge of basic government by students.”

Arizona’s high school classes of 2017 will be the first that will have to prove their mettle.

Feeling like your civics know-how is up to snuff? See how you fare on the test here.

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