/ Modified jan 15, 2015 7:44 p.m.

Civics Test Mandated to Graduate HS in Arizona

Legislature sends bill to Gov. Ducey, he signs, pleaseas first lawmaking in 2015 session.

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The Legislature Thursday passed HB 2069 requiring high school students to pass a civics test before graduating.

The test is based on the exam given to people applying to become U.S. citizens.

The bill was on a fast track after Gov. Doug Ducey called for it Monday in his State of the State address. In one day of legislative action, lawmakers granted Ducey his wish, and he signed it early Thursday evening.

The bill was not without detractors. Rep. Randy Friese, D-Tucson, expressed some of their frustrations.

He said the bill values memorization, “over the process of developing and demonstrating the deep understanding of knowledge developed in the classroom over a semester in the classroom of a civics or a social studies class.”

Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, argued that such testing is good.

“It is a sad thing to say, but for many people a test is what makes them learn, Kavanagh said. "And I see no problem with making students learn civics, the foundation of good citizenship.”

The civics bill was the only major legislative action taken by state lawmakers during their first week in session.

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