- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 3, 2021

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A bill that would require high school students to pass a civics test to graduate has won initial approval in the Kansas House.

Lawmakers voted Wednesday to advance the bill despite opposition from the Kansas State Board of Education, which said the bill encroaches on its constitutional authority to set graduation requirements. The bill faces a final House vote before going to the Senate.

The legislation would require students to pass one or more tests consisting of 60 questions from the 128-question U.S. citizenship test. The bill does not set a passing grade, and students would be able to take the test multiple times. Valley Center Republican Rep. Steve Huebert, the bill’s chief proponent, said teachers could decide what constitutes passing.

The test would also require high schools to submit an annual report to the state board showing how students are doing on the tests.

Supporters say the test would give students basic knowledge to become engaged citizens. Nineteen states require high school graduates to take a civics test, according to the Kansas Department of Legislative Research.

The bill faces pushback from education groups, including the Kansas National Education Association, which says that students are already getting an education in civics in government and history classes.

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