AUSTIN—Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the paper Toward Strengthening Civic Education in Texas.

“It has been said that ‘the philosophy of the classroom in one generation becomes the philosophy of government in the next,’” said Tom Lindsay, Ph.D., director of the Center for Innovation in Education at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “If so, the reality and importance of our civic literacy crisis is no longer subject to partisan debate.”

A recent poll conducted for the Texas Public Policy Foundation showed that 65 percent of Texans believe “we must do better at providing civic education, without which our democracy cannot survive.”

Key Points:

  • The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that as of 2016, the overall national pass rate on the citizenship test for newly-arrived immigrants is 91 percent.
  • In stunning contrast, only 27 percent of native-born Americans under the age of 45were able to pass the multiple-choice USCIS test which requires only 6 out of 10 correct answers to pass.
  • 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.
  • 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.

To view the paper in full, please visit: