Texas may soon require high school students take a version of the test all immigrants looking for U.S. citizenship must pass.
On Wednesday, the Texas House is scheduled to take up a bill that would eliminate the required U.S. history end-of-course for public high schoolers and replace that with a version of the civics test that immigrants must take to become U.S. citizens. As of 2017, 15 states have passed similar legislation, according to the Arizona-based Civics Education Initiative.
State Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, one of the authors of House Bill 1776, said the measure is intended to ensure public school students are educated on the most critical components of U.S. history and civics.
“Though elements of the current test have importance, this bill acknowledges that there are some things our students absolutely must understand and appreciate before they finish high school,” Ashby said at a March hearing on the bill in the House Public Education Committee. “This knowledge is critical to becoming an engaged citizen in our society, which is what we expect of any new U.S. citizens.”
Supporters of the measure also said it would also encourage students to learn civics, which they argue is absent from the current curriculum. The bill did not draw any opponents at the hearing.
Under the bill, students would be able to take the civics exam any time after they enter the ninth grade. The test would be administered online — in multiple choice format — and at any point in the school year in the presence of a proctor.
Those who take the actual naturalization test required to get citizenship are asked up to 10 questions from a list of 100. They must answer six correctly in order to pass. Under HB 1776, however, a student would need to receive a score of 70 percent or better to fulfill the graduation requirement for U.S. history.
Want to try your hand at some of the questions on a typical civics test? Take the Tribune's quiz here.
The Texas Tribune