Alabama high school civics exam requirement passes committee

(Roger Sayles)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A state senate committee has approved a bill that would require Alabama high schoolers to pass a basic civics test before graduating.

Sen. Arthur Orr, a Decatur Republican who introduced the bill, said Wednesday that citizens don't know enough about their government. He cited a survey that found a third of people couldn't name the three branches of government.

Critics say Alabama schools already teach civics and called the test a waste of time.

The exam would be identical to the naturalization test given by federal government. Students could take the exam until they pass.

The bill moves next to the full senate for a vote.