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10/18/2017 02:48 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20170&cosponId=23680
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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: April 19, 2017 02:56 PM
From: Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr. and Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Civics Education Graduation Requirement
 
In recent years we have become more and more alarmed by the lack of basic understanding of our government among our youth and adults alike. A 2016 survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, showed that only 26% of adults were able to identify the three branches of the U.S. Government. This is not an acceptable percentage.

That is why we are partnering with Representatives Boback and Kortz to propose legislation that would require students to take and receive a passing score on a test that is identical to the 100 question civics test produced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as a condition of high school graduation. In order to achieve a passing score on the test students would be required to answer at least 60% of the test questions correctly. Students will be allowed to take the test as many times as is necessary in order for them to achieve a passing score on the test. The test can be found at the following link: https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/study-test

Similar legislation to what we are proposing has been passed in seventeen other states since 2015, including Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Additionally at least 19 states are currently considering this legislative change.

This year marks the 230 anniversary of the Constitution, and we can think of no better time to ensure that students have at least a basic knowledge and understanding of civics and government in order to prepare and encourage them to be responsibly engaged citizens. This legislation is an important and necessary step towards achieving this objective.


Introduced as SB723