Happy birthday, United States of America!
MSN has been running the questions from the Citizenship test. The questions aren’t *that* hard. Most of my 8th graders could pass it as long as they paid attention in my class over the years. Yet the comment for 85-100% is “Welcome to the United States! (And, truth be told, you know more about this great land than most Americans.)” How sad!
I can’t admit to being the most patriotic American, but at least I know something about the history of this country. I wonder how many people in America don’t know that we broke away from England, that slavery was abolished in the 1860s (that always surprised my 8th graders) and that women couldn’t vote in all states until 1920.
I realize historical knowledge isn’t absolutely essential for life. You can continue to live without knowing who the President is, or when the World Wars were fought, yet it’s part of the dumbing down of America. What do we really expect our kids to know? When are we going to hold them to those standards? And what do we do when their parents have no idea and they don’t instill a passion for knowledge? It’s an uphill battle.
With the current emphasis on literacy and math, social studies and civics education is being pushed to the backburner. Our kids are suffering because of it.