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U.S. Capitol

Flags fly in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 1.

INDIANAPOLIS — State lawmakers are backing away from mandating Hoosier students pass the U.S. citizenship test to earn a high school diploma.

On Wednesday, the proposed new graduation requirement, previously approved by the Senate, was eliminated from Senate Bill 132 by the House Education Committee.

Schools instead would be directed to administer the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services exam as part of the coursework in the one semester U.S. government class that students already must complete to receive a high school diploma.

Committee members agreed that more civics education is needed in Indiana schools.

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However, they concluded that an additional student test, particularly as a graduation requirement, is out of step with the General Assembly's recent efforts to minimize the student testing burden.

The legislation separately was amended to also require "an enhanced" study of the Holocaust in Indiana high schools, in response to recent surveys showing many Americans lack a full understanding of the Nazi genocide of European Jews during the 1930s and 1940s.

Holocaust study already is included in the state's history curriculum. The revised measure does not define what comprises "an enhanced" Holocaust education.

The full House next will consider further changes to the proposal before deciding whether to advance it in the legislative process.

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