Public trust in government is reportedly at an all-time low, and we’re more polarized than ever on everything from the climate and immigration to guns and healthcare. Even the Electoral College is under fire, and criticism of the Supreme Court at times runs high.
- According to a recent Education Week Research Center survey, principals named 34 history texts in use across the country—most of them from the same publishers.
- According to Education Week, 31 states require at least one year-long history course, but only 8 states require the same when it comes to one in civics.
- 25% of all students and almost 50% of black students scored “below basic” in civics based on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), aka the Nation’s Report Card.
- 33% of all Americans cannot name even one branch of government, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s 2018 Constitution Day Civics Survey.
- More than 33% of Americans cannot name a specific right stated in the U. S. Constitution’s First Amendment, according to the same civics survey as above.
Then there’s this fact: In 2018, our universities conferred just 24,266 history degrees, down from 36,642 in 2008 vs. a 50% jump in exercise and computer science degrees. Yes, exercise…
We’re in trouble, folks.
Just look at these few findings from the most recent Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation survey of 1,000 Americans via a multiple-choice civics quiz:
- 13% knew when the U.S. Constitution was ratified. (Jun3 21, 1788)
- 60% had no idea what countries the U.S. fought against during WWII. (The Axis countries: Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria)
- 57% did not know how many justices sit on the Supreme Court. (9—as of 1869)
As columnist David Shribman recently wrote in a commentary, “I have found that a grounding in history has been an indispensable aid in understanding how the world works…”
He ended his piece with: “Americans are losing their sense of history. We need to recognize the role that sense has played in enriching this Republic and in affirming and expending its values. The degeneration of our civic dialogue and the withdrawal from any sense of public and civic responsibility is a clear warning sign of this growing failure.”
With thanks, Carol (@schoolwisebooks.com)
(Did you now that January 6, 2019 marked the 230th anniversary of the first-ever U.S. presidential election, thus, as expected, electing George Washington?)