… Mimicking, It Seems, Their Parents — And Dooming Us To Repeat Economic & Military Mistakes Over and Over
While your children readily know all about playing Xbox360 and Playstation3… U.S. students don’t know much about American history.
- Just 13 percent of high school seniors who took the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, called the Nation’s Report Card, showed a solid grasp of the subject.
- With just 22 percent of fourth-grade students and 18 percent of eighth-graders demonstrating proficiency, the two other grades didn’t perform much better.
The test quizzed students on topics including colonization, the American Revolution and the Civil War, and the contemporary United States.
- For example, one question asked fourth-graders to name an important result of the U.S. building canals in the 1800s.
- Only 44 percent knew that it was increased trade among states.
“The history scores released today show that student performance is still too low. These results tell us that, as a country, we are failing to provide children with a high-quality, well-rounded education.”
Education experts believe a heavy focus on reading and math under the federal No Child Left Behind law in the last decade has led to lagging performance in other subjects such as history and science.
“We need to make sure other subjects like history, science and the arts are not forgotten in our pursuit of the basic skills,” said Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University and former U.S. assistant education secretary.
Of the seven subjects on the national test, students performed the worst in U.S. history.
Those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.
The scores on the history test did not vary remarkably from years past; in 1994, for example, 19 percent of fourth-grade students scored proficient or better in U.S. history.
What it means is that… in what is becoming a more and more global society… American students are more and more at a disadvantage. And, so then, is our nation.
Educators said history is critical to students learning how to become better citizens and understanding how the country’s political and cultural systems work.
Students need to not only recognize leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, but also understand why they were important to the development of the country.
“Overall the quality and success of our lives can only be enhanced by a study of our roots,” said Steven Paine, former state schools superintendent for West Virginia. “If you don’t know your past, you will not have a future.”
- This is why our Founding Fathers are misquoted and misused as examples in our public policy-making.
- This is why heads nod approvingly as Sarah Palin gets Paul Revere’s “Midnight Ride” all wrong.
- This is why we are doomed to make the same mistakes now as were made recovering from the Great Depression: focus moved from stimulus to deficit and debt control.