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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=21272
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 9, 2016 02:50 PM
From: Representative Karen Boback and Rep. William C. Kortz, II
To: All House members
Subject: Civics Educaton Graduation Requirement
 
In the near future we plan to introduce legislation substantially similar in concept to House Bill 1858 from the 2015-2016 Session. This legislation 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

The impetus for this legislation is the alarming decline in civic knowledge among American adults. This lack of civic knowledge is evidenced in a 2016 survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, which showed that only 26% of adults were able to identify the three branches of the U.S. Government.

Similar legislation to what we are proposing has been passed in twelve other states in 2015 and 2016, including Arizona, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Virginia, Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

It is our hope 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, and we believe that this legislation is an important and necessary step towards achieving this objective.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation.



Introduced as HB564