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Idaho Falls Rep wants more Idaho in civics test

Posted at 10:17 AM, Feb 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-29 19:14:53-05

Representative Linden Bateman got the nod from a panel of lawmakers on his bill to include more Idaho history and government in the civics test high schoolers must pass to graduate.

Rep. Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, is something of a resident historian at the Idaho Legislature. He's a driving force behind the annual Idaho Day and numerous bills commemorating historical institutions, landmarks, and events in the state's history. He's a former history teacher.

Today, he introduced a measure asking the Department of Education to include questions specific to Idaho's government and history in the high school civics test. Lawmakers last year made it a requirement to pass that test in order to graduate. Bateman said the current test only has two questions relating to Idaho.

"Here we have the legislature of the state of Idaho requiring graduating seniors take a civics test that does not contain a single question relating to the Legislature of Idaho," Bateman told the committee. "What does that tell you what we think about ourselves, not to require students know anything about the Legislature?"

The panel approved introducing the bill and sending it directly to the second reading calendar. Bateman thanked them, adding he would not be seeking re-election and wants this bill to go through the Legislature quickly.