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Politics & Government

House committee approves civics test bill

Dave Thompson

A House committee has unanimously endorsed a bill requiring North Dakota high school students to pass a civics test before getting their diplomas.

The test is the same one given to people who want to become naturalized citizens. The test would be given beginning in the 2016 school year.

Supporters say it’s important for students to know the bedrock principles of US democracy.

"This proposal will give our North Dakota high school students an added incentive to strengthen their knowledge of our great country, and our rights and duties as citizens," First Lady Betsy Dalrymple told the House Education Committee. She's part of a coalition that brought the bill to the Legislature.

"North Dakota would become the first state in the union with this requirement," said Dalrymple.

"I am passionate about the need for our North Dakota young people to know the foundations of our republic government," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler.

David Johnson is the North Dakota Department Adjutant for the American Legion. He told the House Education Committee the need for civics education is paramount.

"The veterans that serve our country also need to know why and how come they're putting their life on the line," said Johnson.

No one spoke in opposition.