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Florida's governor wants high school students to know as much about civics as new citizens

He said the test would be similar to the exam new U.S citizens need to pass.

NAPLES, Fla. — Remember civics class? Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to double down on civics education.

He announced a plan on Tuesday that would require all high school seniors to take a test on basic civics knowledge. As the Orlando Sentinel notes, Florida law already requires middle school students to take a civics class and standardized test. And, since 2017, the Sunshine State has made college students prove a certain level of "civic literacy," the newspaper explains.

Now, the governor wants high school students to be held to similar standards.

A spokesperson for the governor has since clarified to the Tampa Bay Times that passing the exam won't be a requirement for a student to graduate high school. Instead, the tests will help the state measure students' understanding of the subject.

However, at a news conference in Naples, with Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the governor said it’s critical for young people to prove they understand the lessons of America’s founding fathers – so they can take our representative republic into the future. DeSantis said 21 percent of young people can’t answer basic questions about government.

He believes a bedrock foundational knowledge of the rights and duties of American citizenship – civics – could have a unifying effect on a country that appears sharply divided.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story neglected to include the middle school civics education students are already required to receive in Florida. This has been updated.

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