ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Grove City lawmaker wants Minnesota students to pass same test as immigrants

ST. PAUL -- Far more youths in the United States can name an "American Idol" judge than the U.S. Supreme Court chief justice (John Roberts). Many youths cannot name one of the three branches of the federal government (executive, legislative and j...

1987548+0B3axYh3Ek8hfRXJ1V0lNbVc1cG8.jpg
Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City

ST. PAUL - Far more youths in the United States can name an "American Idol" judge than the U.S. Supreme Court chief justice (John Roberts).

Many youths cannot name one of the three branches of the federal government (executive, legislative and judicial).

Not many know what we call the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution (Bill of Rights).

Minnesota state Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, on Tuesday said those are issues he wants to correct. He told a House education committee about his bill to require students to pass the same test immigrants must pass before becoming American citizens.

If students do not pass the test between seventh and 12th grades, they could not graduate from high school.

ADVERTISEMENT

"If students don't understand our republic and how government works, all other learning doesn't matter because our republic is endangered," said Urdahl, a former civics and social studies teacher.

The committee could not vote on the Urdahl bill since the Legislature was not in session, but several members expressed support of some form of the bill.

Urdahl said he is willing to discuss changes, such as including some Minnesota-specific questions as suggested by Rep. Barb Yarusso, D-Shoreview.

The representative said civics knowledge has declined over three decades, in part because required tests in reading and mathematics force teachers to deal with those subjects, leaving civics behind.

"The question should not be, 'Do we have too many tests?'" Urdahl said. "The real question is whether we are testing what we need to."

Two military veteran leaders supported Urdahl.

"Few Americans do understand basic facts about the government, its creation or how it works," said Dan Ludwig, a former national American Legion commander.

Most immigrants pass the civics test on the first try, added Peggy Moon, who was Minnesota American Legion commander last year. Native-born high school students, however, have a "far lower" passage rate, she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Among questions in the test is one asking for a state that borders Canada.

"Hopefully, the students in Minnesota would shine on that one," Ludwig joked.

Urdahl showed a video made on a Texas college campus showing students who could answer few of the questions, including who won the Civil War (the North) or who the opponent was in the Revolutionary War (England). However, the students aced pop culture questions.

Several states have passed requirements similar to Urdahl's bill. A North Dakota law, for instance, requires the test starting with the class of 2017.

Related Topics: EDUCATIONDEAN URDAHL
What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Mike Clemens, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota, was literally (and figuratively) “blown away,” when his equipment shed collapsed under a snow load.
Volunteers lead lessons on infusing fibers with plant dyes and journaling scientific observations for youth in Crow Wing and Olmsted counties.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met on Jan. 5, 2023, to consider the application for Summit Carbon Solutions.