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June 15, 2011

American Students Shaky on US History Basics

From the Wall Street Journal (via Hot Air):

The results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that U.S. schoolchildren have made little progress since 2006 in their understanding of key historical themes, including the basic principles of democracy and America's role in the world.

Only 20% of U.S. fourth-graders and 17% of eighth-graders who took the 2010 history exam were "proficient" or "advanced," unchanged since the test was last administered in 2006. Proficient means students have a solid understanding of the material.

The news was even more dire in high school, where 12% of 12th-graders were proficient, unchanged since 2006. More than half of all seniors posted scores at the lowest achievement level, "below basic." While the nation's fourth- and eighth-graders have seen a slight uptick in scores since the exam was first administered in 1994, 12th-graders haven't.

According to the report, there is a silver lining: the performance of black and Hispanic students in fourth and eighth grades has improved.

Some are wondering if these pathetic scores are a result of history being pushed aside in favor of more math and science. I have another theory - just a theory, mind you, based upon my experience as a parent. Both of my daughters went to public school (the youngest is still in high school), and I shook my head when I saw what they were studying in elementary school. Very little emphasis was put on American history and the basics of our government. Instead, their formative years in school focused on studying the history and culture of other nations such as Japan, and in fourth grade they spent an entire year focusing on the American Indian (called "Native Americans" in PC speak).

I'm certainly not saying that American Indians have no part in American history. But it should be part of the whole package.

When I was in fourth grade, I recall studying the American Revolution. I even remember having to write a report on Crispus Attucks (I recall a friend drew the cover illustration for me), a black man who was the first person shot to death during the Boston Massacre in 1770.

Also, when I was in elementary school, I remember learning about the various states and their resources. How many kids today know the basis for their own state's economy, let alone that of other states in the union? They're lucky if they can even fill in a blank US map properly.

And I live in a town that has an excellent school district. It had better, for all the taxes I pay.

IMHO, the liberals who have taken over our school system don't want students to have a firm grasp on American history, and so they avoid it as long as they can get away with it. And yet we continue to question our students' overall abysmal performance in history...

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Education

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