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New Tennessee law requires high school civics test for graduation

Brandon Paykamian • Jul 1, 2019 at 6:35 PM

Days ahead of Independence Day, a new law requiring high school students to pass a civics test before graduation went into effect. 

Tennessee Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, said the new requirement, which went into effect Monday, is “one way of teaching Tennessee kids the importance of our God-given liberties and about our countries founding.”

“Before voting for this legislation, I ensured that I was able to pass the citizenship test myself,” he said of his support for House Bill 1016. 

“I know civics instruction will solidify the academic foundations for our current and future leaders,” state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough said, weighing in on the new requirement. 

The new requirement also has the support of local educators.

“By requiring students to pass the civics exam as a graduation requirement, students will be able to make informed decisions and better understand civic responsibility. Civics education is essential when promoting active civic engagement in youth,” Ashley Keys, Washington County Schools’ secondary and technical education director, said. 

Science Hill High School Assistant Principal Carmen Bryant agreed that the new requirement will better prepare students to exercise their rights as citizens and participate in American political life as young adults.

“Civics is of vital importance to students, as they will learn to recognize their rights and responsibilities as citizens, as well as how to exercise these rights and responsibilities at the local, state and national levels,” she said, adding that she believes Science Hill’s social studies curriculum thoroughly prepares students for the new requirement.

“The U.S. Civics test provides another opportunity for evidence of students being college, career and community-ready graduates.” 

State Sen. Rusty Crowe could not be immediately reached for comment. 

 

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