The Coming Crisis in Citizenship: Higher Education’s Failure to Teach America’s History and Institutions

January 26, 2017

“For the second year in a row, America’s elite universities and colleges have failed to rise above a ‘D plus’ on tests of basic knowledge about civics and American history, maintains a study commissioned by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).”

“ISI’s final report entitled, ‘The Coming Crisis in Citizenship:  Higher Education’s Failure to Teach America’s History and Institutions,’ presented four pivotal findings:

  1. The average college senior knows very little about America’s history, government, international relations, and market economy.  Their average score on the civic literacy test was 53.2 percent.  ‘No class of seniors scored higher than 69 percent, or D plus.’
  2. Prestige doesn’t pay off.  ‘An Ivy League education contributes nothing to a student’s civic learning.  .. .There is no relationship between the cost of attending college and the mastery of America’s history, politics, and economy.’
  3. Students don’t learn what colleges don’t teach.  ‘Schools where students took or were required to take more courses related to America’s history and institutions,’ says the ISI, ‘outperformed those schools where fewer courses were completed.  The absence of required courses in American history, political science, philosophy, and economics suggests a negative impact on students’ civic literacy.’
  4. Greater civic learning goes hand-in-hand with more active citzenship. ‘Students who demonstrated greater learning of America’s history and its institutions were more engaged in citizenship activities such as voting, volunteer community service, and polticial campaigns.'”

“In 1777, John Adams wrote to his son about the importance of education.  He said it was necessary to teach the next generation about America’s founding principles in order to preserve the freedom and independence so many of his fellow countrymen sacrificed to achieve.  Only when we know and embrace those principles can we pass on to a new generation that which we inherited from the past.  The ISI study reveals severe cracks in that foundation; cracks that need immediate attention and repair.”

2017-03-01-CalThomasQuote-Cal Thomas, “Colleges are cheating their own students,” 2007.
More on AHEF addressing the need for civil education:

Published by: The Founding

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