What does it mean to be a citizen?

Posted February 20th, 2015 at 4:34 pm (UTC-4)
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A movement has begun in the United States to require that high school students pass a test on U.S. history and government before they graduate. The test is the same one given to immigrants who want to become naturalized citizens.


Our education report this weekend tells about new state laws on the requirement. The laws caused some debate among educators. They say students have enough tests already. One more test will not make them better citizens, they think.

On the other hand, some think there is not enough instruction on how to be a good citizen in a democracy. A sign of this is the low number of voters who participate in U.S. elections.

Supporters of the new laws think the test will encourage schools to spend more effort teaching this subject, which is called civics. When Americans think of civics, we often think of taking part in activities to improve our community, volunteering, or supporting our favorite candidates for public office.

What do you think about this movement? Does the education system in your country focus on how to be a good citizen? Do schools teach students to be active members of their communities? How would you describe what  ‘good citizens’ in your community do?

Write a paragraph or two giving your opinion in the comments section. I will give you feedback on your grammar and writing.

Dr. Jill


Jill produces TESOL-related content for VOA Learning English.



Confessions of an English Learner is a place for you to practice your writing and share the joys and pains of learning the language. We will post a weekly prompt, to give you a chance to practice your writing and to comment on others’ writing.


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