Ten days after its initial hearing, a bill backing a required civics test for most students passed committee.
On an 11-3 vote, an amended version of House Bill 1066, which requires public and private school students to pass a citizenship test before graduating from high school, passed the House Education committee.
The initial version of HB 1066, which ASBSD supported, required all students from public, private and homeschool education tracks to pass the civics test prior to graduating by answering at least 70 percent of questions correctly.
ASBSD is opposed to the bill based on the Association’s legislative resolution B1. Students Receiving Alternative Instruction (Home School Instruction), that states: ASBSD supports state guidelines for evaluating the academic progress of students receiving alternative instruction, the establishment of effective state regulations to ensure exempted students receive a high-quality education and the right of the local public school board to decide criteria for allowing alternative instruction students to participate in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.
“It’s really a fairness issue,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany testified. “Demonstrating citizenship in terms of this test is applicable to all students.”
Rep. Tony Randolph noted “one of the reasons” parents chose to homeschool their students was because students “coming out of public school are missing” the basic foundations of civics and homeschool students “already have that” basic civics knowledge.
The idea that homeschool students’ perceived knowledge of civics did not preclude them from the testing requirement according to Rep. Timothy Johns.
“I think it’s imperative that all students receiving a high school degree take this test,” Rep. Johns said.