South Dakota education officials agree improving civics knowledge among high school students is important, but they don't think a mandatory test is the way to do it.
The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved a resolution Thursday to help ensure South Dakota students are learning the content "reflected in" the U.S. citizenship exam. It's part of a national effort to improve civics knowledge among high school students, but doesn't go as far as North Dakota, which became the second state in the nation last month to require the same test that immigrants must pass to become a U.S. citizen to get a high school diploma.
"We need to do it in a methodology that works for South Dakota," said Republican Sen. Deb Soholt, who is sponsoring the resolution. "We were not for tying one test to successful graduation."
South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp said the state's graduation requirements, which include a half-year U.S. government course, already entail students learning the content. New social studies standards that are under review also contain the same information that's part of the test, she said.