Three Elm Creek High School students who are on a mission to solve what they call the country’s “civics crisis” are taking a first big step toward their goal.
The Elm Creek school board has approved a civics test requirement for graduation, starting in 2017. District Superintendent Dean Tickle says it’s a unique move that ought to catch on elsewhere.
“Three young ladies really pushed to have the policy and I appreciate their efforts,” Tickle says. “They really have done a fantastic job getting support for the measure not only from our school board but we also heard from our two U.S. senators and also from Congressman Adrian Smith. There’s really been a large groundswell of support for this.”
Tickle says the test should not become a barrier for students seeking high school diplomas.
“We don’t think it’s much of a stretch for our students to pass the test,” he says. “We gave the test last year to our 4th, 5th and 6th graders and without taking American Government or American History, we had 14 of them pass it and one third grader.”
Elm Creek becomes the first school in Nebraska to require a student to pass the U.S. Citizenship test to graduate from high school.
“The test does put an emphasis on creating good citizens and being involved in the community and the state and nation and globally,” he says. “We think that’s a large part of what we’re here to do.”
State Senator Bob Krist of Omaha recently introduced a bill that would require Nebraska students to pass an American civics test before they could graduate from high school. Legislative Bill 868 would require that students be tested using questions drawn from the naturalization test.
By Brent Wiethorn, KKPR, Kearney