NAS’s Civics Bill Tracker and the Civics Education Initiative

The National Association of Scholars (NAS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to reform higher education, has created a Civics Bill Tracker for all proposed federal and state legislation related to civics. The tracker includes a Database and a Summary Analysis of every proposed civics education bill currently under consideration by legislators.

In addition, the NAS notes that:

The Civics Education Initiative (CEI) worked since ca. 2015 on a very worthwhile campaign: to enact state laws requiring high school students to pass the U.S. citizenship test given to immigrants who wish to be naturalized in order to graduate. The CEI forwarded a central strategic goal of civics education reform, to base civics education on a core of factual knowledge. The CEI also relied on an intelligently chosen tactic, to use the already-extant U.S. citizenship test as the basis of that factual knowledge rather than ask state legislators to draft their own core list. The CEI has had remarkable success: 9 states have passed into law a rigorous version of the CEI model bill; 13 states have passed a weaker version of the CEI model bill; and bills to pass CEI model legislation have been introduced in a further 17 states.

Interesting, the NAS highlights that New Hampshire “introduced a wonderful extension of CEI model legislation—House Bill 319—which extends CEI requirements to undergraduate education.” HB 319 provides:

Every student admitted or transferring to an institution in the university system of New Hampshire on or after January 1, 2023 shall, as a requirement for graduation and in addition to any other baccalaureate degree graduation requirements, show proof of having passed the 128-question 2020 version of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test with a score of 70 of better, or shall be required take and pass such test with a score of 70 or greater.

The NAS recommends that “New Hampshire’s proposed legislation should be considered nationwide. So too should variations that apply to college graduation and teacher licensure.”

The NAS describes its mission as follows:

The National Association of Scholars upholds the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship.