Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Why civics test scores are falling in American schools

Written By: Bethany Mandel, The Spectator, June 20, 2023 - Twenty years ago, one of the most popular bits on late-night television was “Jaywalking,” where Tonight Show host Jay Leno quizzed passersby on world events, geography, history and more. He would ask random people on the street about literature, who the vice president was, or who we fought in World War Two. 

The clips that made the cut inevitably involved embarrassingly ignorant answers. Today, America is a nation of Jaywalking Allstars; whereas it was once a punchline for someone to be that ignorant, ignorance is now the norm. ... 

... students were falling short of the basic standards set out on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). ...  “about 40 percent of eighth graders scored ‘below basic’ in US history last year, compared with 34 percent in 2018 and 29 percent in 2014.” And just 13 percent of eighth graders were considered “proficient,” compared to 18 percent nearly a decade ago. ...

... we can’t ignore how the study of social studies, history and civics has transformed from facts, dates and places to increasingly aggressive political indoctrination. ... No longer do students learn about how the Battle of Yorktown marked the end of the Revolutionary War; now they spend their history hour learning about how the Founding Fathers were slaveholders.

This manipulation of history for children doesn’t just leave them vulnerable to political indoctrination, it leaves them unable to recognize they’re being indoctrinated in the first place. ...  the RAND Corporation found that more teachers thought civics education is about promoting environmental activism, rather than about ‘knowledge of social, political, and civic institutions.’ ... high school civics teachers reported that just 43 percent thought it was essential for graduates to know about periods such as ‘the Civil War and the Cold War.’ Less than two-thirds thought it essential for graduates to know the protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.”

... They believe that their mandate isn’t to teach history or civics, but instead, to brainwash children; and lo and behold, just a few years later, children are falling ever further behind in competence in this newly hyperpoliticized subject area. ... “There is an appalling lack of understanding regarding how our government works, yet it is critical that students develop this understanding in order to be contributing members of society who can engage in the democratic process. (Read it all)

Rod's Comment: I am not optimistic about the future and this in one of the reasons. 

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