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New law requires high school students to pass civic education exam to graduate | Local News

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Future high school students in New Hampshire will have a new requirement to graduate: a passing grade on the national civics exam for new Americans.

Under a law signed by Governor Chris Sununu last week, high school students within two years will have to pass the 128-question civic naturalization exam to graduate.

This exam, developed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, includes a series of questions about how the U.S. government works, ranging from general questions such as the number of amendments to the Constitution (27) and the number of Representatives in the United States House (435). , to more specific requests, such as naming one of the documents that influenced the creation of the Constitution (for example, the Federalist Papers).

The test is required for all U.S. residents who apply for naturalization, the process by which they can become U.S. citizens. House Bill 320 adds it to the compulsory high school curriculum in New Hampshire.

Granite State students must score 70 percent or more on the test to graduate, by law. But schools can modify the test for students with disabilities to suit their individual education program.

The bill was passed largely along party lines, with Republicans for and Democrats against.

Rep. Michael Moffett, a Loudon Republican and sponsor of the bill, argued during the hearing process that the bill would help address the perceived lack of civic education and U.S. government knowledge among high school graduates. In introducing the law, Moffett criticized some schools for prioritizing lessons on climate change over civic education.

Opponents, who included the New Hampshire School Board Association, countered that the new law would only force schools to “teach by the test,” and noted that high school students are already expected to demonstrate competence in government and civic education under state law. define adequate education.

The law comes into force on July 1, 2023.