Scottsdale Civics Test

In a recent  column in what is left of the Arizona Republic (Legislature OKs civics test, public education is saved) Laurie Roberts says,

…Republican state officials who detest federal mandates in our schools are now not only embracing a test written by the feds but making it a graduation requirement.

In the opening act of the circus called the 2015 State Legislature, the top priority is following new Governor Doug Ducey’s lead in instituting a new civics test for high school seniors based on the  U.S. Department of Homeland Security immigrant citizenship test.

Not a bad idea on its face, but,

  • It’s pretty elementary (no pun intended).
  • The students ought to already be thoroughly covering (and being tested upon) these subjects to a much greater depth.
  • Civics start at home.

To that last point, I propose a Scottsdale Civics Test. Some sample questions (answers below, don’t scroll down until you try to answer):

  1. What is our form of government?
  2. What position is the titular head of our government?
  3. Who holds that office? 90% of Scottsdale residents don’t know. Ok, I just made that up, but a) So did Doug Ducey when he cited a long discredited survey in pushing HIS test, and b) I’m pretty sure I’m being generous.
  4. What is the governing body of our city?
  5. How many members are there? Name three.
  6. What is the organic law (i.e., ratified by the voters) of our city?
  7. What is our master policy document?
  8. Who is the city manager and at whose pleasure does he serve?
  9. What do we call our city hall and where is it?
  10. Where can you find all these answers online?
  11. How many city council meetings have you attended?




  1. Scottsdale has  a council-manager (aka, ‘weak mayor’) form of government.
  2. Mayor.
  3. Jim Lane.
  4. City Council.
  5. Seven (Milhaven, Klapp, Korte, Smith, Phillips, Littlefield).
  6. Scottsdale City Charter, and 2001 General Plan.
  7. 2001 General Plan.
  8. Fritz Behring, serves at the pleasure of the City Council.
  9. The Kiva. 100 yards north of the main Scottsdale Public Library, 1/2-mile south of the Bar District.
  10. (of course) or
  11. The only wrong answer is “none.”


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  1. Think you’re on to something, Mr. Washington. How about eligible voters being required to pass test before being allowed to vote in local elections?

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