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PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 857
PRINTER'S NO. 1039
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
723
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY RAFFERTY, DINNIMAN, LANGERHOLC, MARTIN, FOLMER,
AUMENT, SCARNATI, FONTANA, ARGALL, HUTCHINSON, WAGNER,
McGARRIGLE, REGAN, ALLOWAY, McILHINNEY, SABATINA, SCAVELLO,
WHITE, BLAKE, VULAKOVICH, BARTOLOTTA, EICHELBERGER,
RESCHENTHALER, BOSCOLA AND BROWNE, MAY 19, 2017
SENATOR EICHELBERGER, EDUCATION, AS AMENDED, JUNE 28, 2017
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
act relating to the public school system, including certain
provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
laws relating thereto," in high schools, providing for civics
test graduation requirement FURTHER PROVIDING FOR COURSES OF
STUDY.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known
as the Public School Code of 1949, is amended by adding a
section to read:
Section 1613.1. Civics Test Graduation Requirement.--(a)
Notwithstanding 22 Pa. Code ยง 4.24 (relating to high school
graduation requirements), beginning in the 2020-2021 school year
and in each school year thereafter, each school entity shall
require a student, as a condition of high school graduation, to
correctly answer at least sixty percent (60%) of the questions
on a test that is identical to the one hundred (100) question
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civics test used by the United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services.
(b) Each school entity may administer the test required
under subsection (a) in any grade from grades seven through
twelve, and shall:
(1) Determine the manner in which the test shall be
administered.
(2) Offer students the opportunity to take the test at least
three times each year as follows:
(i) Once in the fall.
(ii) Once in the spring.
(iii) Once in the summer.
(3) Indicate that a student has satisfied the requirements
of this section in a student's academic record.
(c) Each student shall be permitted to take the test
required under subsection (a) as many times as necessary in
order to meet the requirements of this section.
(d) A student with an individualized education program shall
not be required to comply with the requirements of this section
if the provisions of the student's individualized education
program indicate otherwise.
(e) The chief school administrator of a school entity may
waive the requirements of this section for students in grade
twelve on a case by case basis for good cause in extenuating
circumstances. Waivers granted under this subsection shall not
exceed ten percent (10%) of the students in the graduating class
of the school entity.
(f) The department shall post on its publicly accessible
Internet website links to the one hundred (100) question civics
test used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration
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Services and any related resources offered by the United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services. The department shall also
post on its publicly accessible Internet website any additional
materials that the department deems useful to school entities in
complying with the requirement in this section.
(g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require
school entities to collect and report new data to the
department.
(h) As used in this section, the following words and phrases
shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection, unless
the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Department" shall mean the Department of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"Individualized education program" shall mean an
individualized education program established under 22 Pa. Code
Ch. 14 (relating to special education services and programs).
"School entity" shall mean each school district, area
vocational-technical school, intermediate unit, charter school,
cyber charter school, regional charter school, or nonpublic
school from which a student may graduate high school.
SECTION 1. SECTION 1605 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 10, 1949
(P.L.30, NO.14), KNOWN AS THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949, IS
AMENDED BY ADDING A SUBSECTION TO READ:
SECTION 1605. COURSES OF STUDY.--* * *
(D) BEGINNING WITH THE 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR, THE CURRICULUM
FOR SOCIAL STUDIES UNDER SUBSECTION (A) AND COURSES ENUMERATED
IN THAT SUBSECTION SHALL CONTAIN A UNIT OF STUDY THAT INCLUDES
CIVICS-RELATED SUBJECT MATTER OF WHICH NATURALIZED CITIZENS ARE
REQUIRED TO DEMONSTRATE A KNOWLEDGE. THE FOLLOWING SHALL APPLY:
(1) AS A MEANS TO INFORM CIVICS-RELATED CURRICULA AND
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INSTRUCTION, UNDER ANY OF THE ENUMERATED COURSES OF STUDY UNDER
SUBSECTION (B), A TEST SHALL BE ADMINISTERED WHICH IS IDENTICAL
TO THE CIVICS PORTION OF THE NATURALIZATION TEST USED BY THE
UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES TO SURVEY A
STUDENT'S KNOWLEDGE OF THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE HISTORY,
PRINCIPLES AND FORM OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
(2) THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SHALL PROMULGATE RULES AND
REGULATIONS TO IMPLEMENT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBSECTION,
WHICH SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, THE FOLLOWING:
(I) REQUIRING THAT THE AGGREGATED RESULTS OF THE TEST FOR A
PUBLIC, PRIVATE OR PAROCHIAL SCHOOL BE REPORTED TO THE
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ON AN ANNUAL BASIS TO HELP INFORM THE
OVERALL STATE APPROACH TO THE SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM;
(II) PROVIDING A WRITTEN REPORT TO THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
OF THE SENATE AND THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES WITHIN FIVE YEARS AFTER THE IMPLEMENTATION OF
THIS SUBSECTION TO MEASURE THE IMPACT OF THE TEST ON THE SOCIAL
STUDIES CURRICULUM; AND
(III) DEVELOPING A CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION FOR THOSE
STUDENTS SCORING ONE HUNDRED PERCENT (100%) ON THE TEST.
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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