Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Entrance Exams

The NYT has a story today about redesigning US citizenship exams.

My first reaction was wariness...because just as the victors write (their own version) of the history books, whoever writes the citizenship exams gets to promulgate their own ideas as to what constitutes "official citizenship."

The new test will also try to ensure that prospective citizens understand basic concepts of American democracy...

Yeah, I'm afraid. Especially after following the story this month of how in Florida (yes, Florida) the GOP in violated the rights of new citizens by registering them to vote outside of naturalization ceremonies with forms pre-filled to register voters as Republican.

Now, my husband Neil and I are a bi-national couple. I am Canadian, he is American, and I am in the US as a permanent resident. Our married life has been filled with immigration negotiations with both the US and Canada, and we will probably each apply for the other's citizenship down the road. So I decided to take a look at each country's citizenship test (as they stand now) to see what kind of concept of democracy they represent. I'll post a comparison of the two later.