Bill requiring civics education passes Senate panel

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Senate Education Committee has moved legislation that would require Pennsylvania’s high school students to have a basic understanding of American history and government.

Senate Bill 723 calls for students to take a test identical to the civics portion of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ naturalization test, the exam all immigrants must pass when applying for U.S. citizenship.

The bill was amended in committee and would no longer require students pass the test as a graduation requirement.

National studies have shown that less than 25 percent of high school students are unable to answer basic questions about the U.S. government and American history, and a third of adults cannot name one branch of our federal government.

The bill is awaiting a vote in the full Senate.

If passed, the tests would begin in the 2019-2020 school year.

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