Do we need more civics requirements?
We covered this a few days ago at College Insurrection but the story has gone national.
This all springs from a report by the Council of Trustees and Alumni called A Crisis in Civic Education.
Among many troubling findings, the report revealed:
There is a crisis in American civic education. Survey after survey shows that recent college graduates are alarmingly ignorant of America’s history and heritage. They cannot identify the term lengths of members of Congress, the substance of the First Amendment, or the origin of the separation of powers. They do not know the Father of the Constitution, and nearly 10% say that Judith Sheindlin—“Judge Judy”—is on the Supreme Court.
CNN covered the story yesterday. As you’ll see below, some found the pertinent multiple choice question confusing because the name given was Judith Sheindlin, not “Judge Judy” but still…
Here are some other stats from the report:
Civic Knowledge of College Graduates Today
In late summer of 2015, ACTA commissioned the research firm GfK to survey recent American college graduates and the public at large about their understanding of our free institutions of government. Our questions were drawn from standard high school civics curricula. They emphasized the content of the U.S. Constitution and the basic workings of our government. A smaller number of questions also asked about prominent figures currently serving in the federal government.
The results were abysmal. For example:
• Only 20.6% of respondents could identify James Madison as the Father of the Constitution. More than 60% thought the answer was Thomas Jefferson—despite the fact that Jefferson, as U.S. ambassador to France, was not present during the Constitutional Convention.
• College graduates performed little better: Only 28.4% named Madison, and 59.2% chose Jefferson.
• How do Americans amend the Constitution? More than half of college graduates didn’t know. Almost 60% of college graduates failed to identify correctly a requirement for ratifying a constitutional amendment.
• We live in a dangerous world—but almost 40% of college graduates didn’t know that Congress has the power to declare war.
• College graduates were even confused about the term lengths of members of Congress. Almost half could not recognize that senators are elected to six year terms and representatives are elected to two-year terms.
• Less than half of college graduates knew that presidential impeachments are tried before the U.S. Senate.
Twitchy has compiled some reactions on Twitter:
— John Keister (@TrueSoulution) January 19, 2016
— Hugh Jess Wiener (@HughJessWiener) January 19, 2016
— Macky Mack (@M_McCormack12) January 19, 2016
An excellent point.
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