Toward Strengthening Civic Education in Texas

By Thomas Lindsay, Ph.D.|October 24, 2018


Most Americans would fail the U.S. citizenship test. The Wilson Foundation gave native-born respondents questions based on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service test. Only 13 percent of respondents could identify the year that the U.S. Constitution was written.

Key points:

  • National polling finds that only 26 percent of Americans can name all three branches of the government. This is down from 38 percent in 2011.
  • Worse, 33 percent of Americans surveyed were unable to name even one branch of government.
  • The Annenberg Center survey found that 37 percent of those polled could not name even one right protected by the First Amendment.
  • A 2018 article, “Civics Education Helps Create Young Voters and Activists,” informs us: “Youth voter turnout is notoriously low in the U.S., especially when social-studies classes are notably absent.”
  • Only nine states and the District of Columbia require one full academic year of civics or American government classes in high school. Texas requires a half-year of such study.