New bill would require high school students to pass civics test before graduation

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A new bill could create a new requirement for high school students in Kansas.

The proposed bill would make schools give students an American civics test. Supporters said the bill would get more young people caring about what’s happening in their government.

If passed, every student in the state would have to pass it in order to graduate.

Questions could range from what rights are guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence to naming the state’s U.S. Senators.

“You need to know who represents you,” said sponsor on the bill, Valley Center Representative Steve Huebert. “You need to be able to understand that if there’s an issue you care about, there’s people that you need to talk to and let them know, and lobby them, communicate your position so that they represent you,” he said.

Huebert chairs the House Education Committee. Lawmakers debated the bill in the committee on Tuesday. Huebert also presented the bill to the state Board of Education.

Current law requires high schools to teach U.S. Government and the Constitution in class. But supporters want a test to be in place.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt also argued for the bill in front of the committee.

Huebert said the bill could address the lack of interest in government.

“Get involved, make a difference,” Huebert said. “You do that by learning, seeing what our constitution says, and learning about the Bill of Rights and the freedoms that are in there.”

The bill is opposed by multiple school groups and advocates. They said it’s unnecessary and that it just adds another barrier to graduation.

If a student fails the test, they would be able to retake it until they pass.

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