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Noem’s Civics Test Back to Original Vague Form; Just Kill HB 1066

Put Governor Noem on a stage. Turn on the cameras. Ask her 100 civics questions... or just ten questions about how HB 1066 works and what it will really achieve. [Gov. Noem in Washington, DC, from @GovKristiNoem, 2019.02.22.]
Put Governor Noem on a stage. Turn on the cameras. Ask her 100 civics questions… or just ten questions about how HB 1066 works and what it will really achieve. [Gov. Noem in Washington, DC, from @GovKristiNoem, 2019.02.22.]
Governor Kristi Noem’s high school civics test mandate, House Bill 1066, took an interesting turn Tuesday. After House Education whittled Noem’s sloppy bill down to impose a smaller ten-question test, and after some curious discussion in Senate Education Tuesday about letting the Secretary of Education pick ten random questions from the USCIS Citizenship Test every time a student asks to take the test (USCIS has a randomizer! I can build you one in Moodle!), five senators decided we should go back to Square 1. Senate Education amended out all the previous amendments and voted 5–2 to send Governor Noem’s original HB 1066 to the Senate floor.

That takes us back to Square 1 in the arguments against Governor Noem’s poorly crafted bill:

  1. Noem’s HB 1066 fails to specify a standard test, in content and format (written? oral? open-book?), for all students.
  2. Noem’s bill fails to specify who picks the questions or how.
  3. Noem’s bill fails to specify who may administer and grade the test.
  4. Noem’s bill requires schools to report the results of every student’s civics test, even though the bill fails to require that students take the test through their schools.
  5. Noem’s bill issues a vague prohibition on charging “any fee in connection with the civics test,” meaning tutors, web designers, study guide preparers, and anyone else connected with preparing students for the test or administering it could be subject to legal trouble if they take any kind of pay for their work.
  6. Noem’s bill simply exempts students on individualized education plans instead of following the normal practice of including those students with accommodations.
  7. Noem’s bill imposes its mandate on next year’s high school seniors, giving them just one year to adjust their studies to accommodate this suddent mandate.
  8. Noem’s bill requires every school to report these civics test scores without explaining how school.

And of course, the three major objections to any iteration of civics test requirements remain unaddressed:

  1. Noem’s 70% passing standard is arbitrary; instead, we need a clear benchmark score, normed by having Governor Noem and all legislators take the test first and publishing and averaging their scores.
  2. Imposing a civics test as the sole high-stakes testing requirement for graduation when myriad other skills can be deemed equally important for healthy, productive, thoughtful living is absurd.
  3. No one-sitting civics test will achieve any of the formative educational goals Noem and other civics boosters pretend the current school system is failing to teach. Instead of a tired old test, we should be promoting active civics learning, student engagement in public activism and problem-solving.

Noem’s reverted House Bill 1066 is the product of a politician who doesn’t understand or respect real education. Senate, just kill House Bill 1066 and go back to trusting our teachers and local school boards to do the job we all choose them to do.


  1. Loren 2019-02-28 09:24

    Sounds like a typical Trump republican program. Fire! Aim! Ready?

  2. Porter Lansing 2019-02-28 10:45

    Let the NRA write the “civet cat” test. They’ll do it for free, I’m sure.
    PS … Why is she wearing Rhoden’s boots?

  3. JB 2019-02-28 14:01

    I took several online versions of the test and I’m sitting at 100% so far. It’s not actually that hard.

  4. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-02-28 21:13

    How ’bout them boots!

  5. grudznick 2019-02-28 21:43

    I agree with my good friend Bob, as usual.

  6. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-02-28 22:01

    Sample question from Noem’s civics test.

    Who is the very, very best president of the USA ever?

    1) Donald Trump
    2) Jerry Garcia
    3) Donald Trump
    4) Pete Townsend

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-02-28 22:15

    CIRD, you are as fun as a real bouncy house. You suggest two fun ideas. DFP commenters should compose two civics tests: the one Kristi Noem would come up with, and the real one we would offer if we ran the schools and wanted kids to really learn something instead of using kids to score slogan points for ourselves. For example:

    Cory’s Civics Test Question #1: Identify a need in the community not currently being met. Explain how meeting that need is or is not a proper role of government. If government does not have a proper role in meeting that need, prepare a proposal for meeting that need through private efforts. If government does have a proper role in meeting that need, prepare a proposal for local-level action to address that need. In either case, prepare a ten-minute presentation to the entity/entities whom you determine are best positioned to meet this need, deliver that presentation, and report on the results of your conversation with the entity/entities.

    Kristi Civics Test, Question #2: Who decides which bills pass and fail in Pierre?
    A. Larry Rhoden
    B. Wackies
    C. Tony Venhuizen
    D. Kristi Noem
    (Answering other than D will lead to a call an HP officer threatening arrest for harassment of her Highness.)

  8. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-02-28 22:47

    Cory’s Civics Test Question #1: Would require most people 35 years to acquire adequate knowledge of “government,” “proper role” thereof, and “private efforts.”

    Do you have others? This could require some radical adjustments to what and how we teach those under 19 in the government schools. (Not that I’m opposed to that.)

    Kristi Civics Test, Question #2: Adequate.

  9. Hill Dweller 2019-03-01 08:53

    I haven’t been following this bill. It appears to be consistently poorly written, poorly thought out and imperial. What struck me, by taking a broader look, this Administration and Legislature seem less than interested in civic participation in government. More obscure bills propose to change the PUC hearings to public input and restrict organizations from participating. Members of the public who have raised concerns have been told that we don’t know enough to be included or participate.
    Pardon me if my mouth is left with a sour taste.

  10. o 2019-03-01 09:11

    Jason: here are a few more off-topic three-in-fives for you.

    Nearly three-in-five Americans say the government should combat climate change:

    three-in-five Americans have experienced a year in poverty:

    Only one-in-five Americans say their are living the American Dream:

  11. o 2019-03-01 10:48

    CIRD: I believe SD will go with the Stephen Colbert wording for that question:

    Donald Trump: great President or GREATEST President?

  12. bearcreekbat 2019-03-01 12:11

    When Jason makes a claim and offers a link, I have often found the link to be a a strongly biased propaganda site. This time, to my surprise, that does not seem to be the case. Instead, this time Jason uses a valid poll to justify a spurious assertion through misrepresentation by omission the actual results of the poll he linked. It is a lengthy poll and undoubtedly, folks like Jason, who apparently seek to spread false propaganda, probably hope that readers lack the time to check on his claims.

    In fact, the poll does not report a percentage of people that believe a wall is “effective” in “stopping” illegal immigration. Instead, the poll reports opinion about the effectiveness of a wall in “reducing” immigration. Only a relatively small percentage of people that believe a wall to be “very effective” – 22% in “reducing” illegal immigration. Another 36% believe a wall is merely “somewhat effective” in “reducing,” rather than “stopping,” illegal immigration.

    It should rather obvious that there is a substantial difference between “very” and “somewhat” effective, as well as the fact that “reducing” immigration activity is a substantially different than “stopping” immigration activity.

    Likewise, there are several more polling questions about the wall, and in each and every category, the majority of those polled do not favor the funding or building a wall. Here are very short summaries of the answers to several poll questions:

    (1) whether iIlegal immigration is a growing humanitarian and security crisis

    yes -51%

    no, it is mainly a political crisis – 49%

    (note here how “humanitarian issues,” such as caging and maltreatment children stolen from parents, may affect this result)

    (2) IIlegal immigration is

    a serious problem requiring immediate action – 44%

    a minor problem that can wait 38%

    something that not even be a small 19% priority

    (3) Do not spend even 1$ on a wall

    Agree 53%

    Disagree 47%

    (4) Immigration is a national emergency

    Favor 37%

    Oppose 63%

    (5) In the last two years 300,000 to over 400,000 people were intercepted trying to cross illegally into United States on the southern border with Mexico. Only a few thousand try to cross the northern border with Canada. Given these numbers, do you favor or oppose the decision by the President to declare a national emergency to secure the funding he needs to build a wall on the border with Mexico?

    Favor 46%

    Oppose 54%

    (note, This question seemed factual enough to need each assumption set out)

    (6) Is there currently a national emergency on the border

    Yes 42%

    No 58%

    (7) Do you think the use of national emergency powers that allow the President to divert military funds to build a wall on the border with Mexico is an appropriate or inappropriate use of executive powers?

    Appropriate 39%

    Inappropriate 61%

    (8) *Do you think border barriers are very ineffective, somewhat ineffective, somewhat effective or very effective at reducing illegal immigration?

    very + somewhat effective (net) 57%

    very effective 22%

    somewhat effective 36%

    somewhat + very ineffective (net) 43%

    somewhat ineffective 25%

    very ineffective 17%

    Whether you are for or against funding a wall, the above poll results clearly shine light on Jason’s tactical efforts to mislead readers by omission. For those with the time, the poll Jason linked and falsely represented actually provides quite informative, apparent objective, and interesting coverage of a whole variety of issues beyond just immigration. Here is the link to this February 2019 Harvard poll once again:

  13. Porter Lansing 2019-03-01 12:27

    Jason – BCB just ate your lunch and gave the cookie to her friend. What is it Jason? Are you a liar or do you only read the headlines (and not the body of the content) before you post your outlandish assertions? Either way, a Big Boy apology is in order.
    (You can see why so many on DFP don’t even read Jason’s posts. He’s been caught numerous times for being deceptive.) Maybe he’s really Troy Jones. We all busted Jones continually for doing the same thing.

  14. Jason 2019-03-01 12:58


    Page 192 clearly states that 57% thought a wall was very effective to somewhat effective.

    That is 3 out of 5 people.

    Let’s put it another way so a third grader can understand.

    3 out of 5 people did not say a wall was very ineffective to somewhat ineffective.

    As usual (99.9% of the time), I am correct.

  15. mike from iowa 2019-03-01 13:00

    The Israeli fence is a total failure at keeping Jews out of and off of Palestinian lands.

  16. Roger Cornelius 2019-03-01 13:19

    What happened to Kristi Noem’s civic test, did it become a wall?

  17. jerry 2019-03-01 14:02

    Bibi Netanyahoo has been indicted!! So the fence there will keep his sorry arse in.

  18. jerry 2019-03-01 14:06

    NOem’s bill is as meaningless as most of what she says. She should’ve added another 6 on the end of this devilish bill that would show where lawmakers will tell her to go.

  19. bearcreekbat 2019-03-01 14:43

    Jason, you might try re-reading my comment. I too indictated 57%. Trouble is, in your original post you omitted the qualifiers “very” and “somewhat” and you asserted that this 57% believed that the barriers “stopped” rather than “reduced” illegal crossings and you tried to give the impression by implication that this group of people supported a border wall, none of which was true.

    Bottom line – you attempted to mislead readers by cherry picking a few words, substituting other words, and omitting information that totally contradicted any implied popular support for a wall. If you think that makes you “correct,” then that is okay by me, so long as the readers of your propaganda are informed about the “rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say, so they are not misled by your claims.

  20. leslie 2019-03-01 15:15


    BCB, while I can’t go back and check somewhere I seem to remember Criticizing Jason’s links in comparison to HARVAD links and “lots of them”. Perhaps he felt he had to rub Harvard in our face?

  21. bearcreekbat 2019-03-01 17:06

    leslie, your guess is as good as mine.

  22. Jason 2019-03-01 18:10


    Would you rather have me say that 1 out of 5 say a wall would be very ineffective?

    The fact is a majority think a wall would be effective. The degree doesn’t matter.

  23. Porter Lansing 2019-03-01 18:44

    Let’s break this down. Let’s discuss a specific wall in a specific place in a specific timeframe since the Harris Poll is overtly vague.
    “But CBS News polling from mid-November found that a majority — 59 percent of Americans — oppose building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s a partisan issue, though. A large majority of Republicans support the wall — 79 percent. A majority of independents — 66 percent — oppose the wall, and 84 percent of Democrats are also against it.”
    “Only 28% of those polled answered that the border wall should be an immediate priority, while 19% replied it shouldn’t be an immediate priority, and 50% said it shouldn’t be a priority at all.”

  24. Porter Lansing 2019-03-01 18:47

    You lose again, Jason and I’m not going to spend my Friday night waiting for your apology. I’m going to watch it snow and finish binge watching Season 12 of the hilarious comedy from Canada, “Trailer Park Boys”.

  25. bearcreekbat 2019-03-01 19:54

    Jason, it would help considerably if you eliminated cherry picking and stopped using language intended to mislead.

    Incidentally, it would seem that if a wall could discourage one person out of ten trying to come to the US seeking freedom, safety, and economic opportunity, that wall could be considered “somewhat” effective. And if it discouraged one hundred men, women and kids, out of a thousand desperate parents and children, seeking freedom, safety and economic opportunity, it also might be considered “slightly” effective.

    How many men, women and children seeking freedom, safety and economic opportunity must be stopped in your view to make a wall “very” effective? And could you measure “effectiveness” by the number of people a wall assured would starve, die of thirst, die of exposure in the desert, or be murdered because the wall prevented them from coming to safety in the U.S.?

  26. Jason 2019-03-01 20:29

    By discourage do you mean stop?

    There is a legal way for any person to immigrate to the US.

  27. Jason 2019-03-01 22:17


    I will ask you a simple question.

    Did the majority say that a wall was more effective than not effective in the poll?

    You are a “probably” a lawyer and I am not and I am eating your lunch.

  28. bearcreekbat 2019-03-02 01:19

    Jason, your question is redundant. You already know my position, but if you have forgotten, re-read my comments.

  29. Jason 2019-03-02 07:19

    I already know your position BCB. Your post stated that 1 out of 5 think a wall in very ineffective.

  30. bearcreekbat 2019-03-02 12:18

    Jason, let me add a final explanation of my position.

    I am not inclined to engage in junior-high style back and forths about lunch or any other silliness. If this excites you, then go for it.

    Meanwhile, I urge readers to review the information, rather than claims, that you and I have posted in comments and links and judge for themselves what they think the people surveyed think about a wall. Neither my opinion nor your opinion should have any bearing on reader’s conclusions. Most are capable of making their own independent judgments, rather than blindly being led by propaganda.

  31. mike from iowa 2019-03-02 13:08

    Living and dying in Des Moines, iowa is redundant. The Troll is something else.

Comments are closed.