Senate passes bill requiring civics tests

The Senate passed House Bill 2039 by a 24-15 vote following a two-hour debate. The bill, which previously passed the House by a 69-54 vote, requires students to pass a civics test composed of 60 questions from the naturalization test administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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April 1, 2021 - 8:25 AM

TOPEKA — Sen. Pat Pettey raised concerns during Senate debate Wednesday with jettisoning “what really works to help students learn” in favor of requiring high schoolers to pass a 60-question civics test before they receive a diploma.

Pettey, a Democrat and retired teacher from Kansas City, lectured Ellinwood Republican Sen. Alicia Straub about the Kansas State Board of Education’s exhaustive approach to improving social studies standards adopted in 2013.

“That was when there was a decision made that it wouldn’t just be based on the citizenship test, but would be based on understanding and fulfilling the job of a citizen,” Pettey said.

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