JIM CREES: More pandering legislation
So, as another example of what I often refer to as wasteful legislation, (but what might be called “pandering to the base” legislation), State Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Twp., has introduced a bill in Michigan Senate that if passed will require high school seniors to take and pass the same citizenship test new immigrants take.
Lucido says he expects taking such a test would “... encourage participation and increase voter turnout for elections.”
Seniors in high school would need to pass 60 percent of the questions on the immigration civics exams before they would receive their diplomas.
Now THAT makes sense.
Lucido justified the need for such a test saying “... today I’ve realized the students know more about a dollar menu than they do about their own government.”
Does he not also realize this is simply another suggestion for more government intervention in education by a member of the party that is constantly bemoaning government intervention in anything?
Is that not ... odd?
In taking this test, high school kids would need to answer questions their parents, grandparents and probably many civic leaders can’t answer!
Look. I would love it if every kid graduating high school had an extensive knowledge of history, but frankly, I don’t expect them to be smarter than their elders.
For example, here are just a few of the questions high schoolers will need to answer if Lucido’s bill passes. Can you answer them — correctly?
- How many amendments does the Constitution have?
- The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
- Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
- How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
- Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?
- Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
- Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?
- What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?
- Name one right only for United States citizens?
- What happened at the Constitutional Convention?
- The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.
- What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for? (Hint: It has nothing to do with a kite!)
- What did Susan B. Anthony do?
- Who was President during World War I?
- Name one U.S. territory.
And more ... and more ... and more.
Some questions are easier. Other’s are not.
(By the way, for sake of science, one of the folks in our office administered the test to me — all 100 questions. I answered two (2) wrong. One was “When was the Constitution written?” I said 1786, but the answer is 1787. I also got the number of representatives in the House wrong. I said 425, and the answer is 435.)
This is the type of legislation that is simply a waste of time and public money.
Seriously. Knowing the immigration citizenship test, (or 60 percent of it), is going to encourage more participation in government; more voting?!!?
How about we create a policy in which every legislator needs to pass a basic MEAP-style test before being sworn into office.
Let’s make it easy. Elected legislators and public officials need to pass the fourth grade level MEAP (or whatever the heck they call it today!) reading, math and social studies test,
Let’s see what happens then.
Or more appropriately still, let’s have our legislators and elected officials pass the immigration test - but NOT at 60 percent correct level. At 100 percent.
Why not? They are, after all, our legislators. They are the government. They should know this stuff by rote.
They certainly should know this stuff much better than a high school senior.
This kind of legislation just gets folks sitting in easy chairs watching Faux News another reason to sagely nod their heads and bemoan the state of our young people today. “Why when I was a kid we had to memorize the Gettysburg Address and the Magna Carta — all while re-roofing the school building, in the middle of a snowstorm, with nothing to eat but chicken bones.”
Lucido’s legislation is not unlike the perennial efforts, (especially and solely around election time), to get laws passed declaring English the official language of the State of Michigan.
It happens every election cycle.
Some politician weak on policy matters drums up a bit of patriotic fervor by crying his concerns for protecting our heritage by naming English the official language of the state. Because of... ?
And now, we need to make folks better citizens by forcing kids with a lot more on their minds to take a history test?
It is simply exhausting.