Assembly Committee Set to Hold Hearing on Civics Mandate Bill

The Assembly Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations has scheduled a public hearing for this Wednesday afternoon on a bill (Assembly Bill 194) that would require the successful completion of the civics portion of a citizenship test as a condition for obtaining a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma.

The proposed “citizenship” test would be a “high-stakes” test in that failure to pass the test would prevent a student from graduating high school or getting a GED. Wisconsin has never required students to pass a state test in order to graduate. 

The bill’s author, Rep. James Edming (R-Glen Flora), indicates that  under the bill Wisconsin high school students would take a 100-question Immigration and Naturalization exam currently utilized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that would test their knowledge of government and history. A score of 60 would be needed for a student to pass and the test may be retaken until a passing score is obtained.

The WASB has concerns about this bill, including that it would mandate additional testing at a time when many parents are expressing concerns that there is too much testing going on in our schools. Adding a high-stakes graduation test to the mix only would exacerbate these concerns.

The hearing will be held in room 328 Northwest in the State Capitol at 1:00 p.m.