Report: Students don't know much about US history

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. Results released Tuesday showed the two other grades didn’t perform much better, with just 22 percent of fourth-grade students and 18 percent of eighth-graders demonstrating proficiency.

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,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. “These results tell us that, as a country, we are failing to provide children with a high-quality, well-rounded education.”

I don’t think that news will come as a surprise to most Americans. :o

The article mentions that some education experts are concerned that the heavy focus on math and reading in the No Child Left Behind act would lower history scores. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, with scores not significantly different from 1994.

Here is a link to the website for the National Assessment of Educational Programs.

You can look at the questions asked, and even take a five question quiz (if you dare.) :wink:

It’s not just the students who don’t know much about history. I had an instructor in a university history course (a grad student) who didn’t know whether the Russian revolution or the French revolution came first. Something I would expect a professional historian to know. Knowledge of history just doesn’t seem as important to people today as it did in the past, so sadly this isn’t at all surprising.

As a history professor, I’m just gonna go in a corner and bang my head against the wall for a while…:banghead:

Liberals have been so busy re-writing textbook history that the essential details are being displaced by “politically correct” fabrications. Fox News routinely goes through Public School textbooks showing how they fly in the face of facts.

Who is Rewriting History?

God Bless

I suppose you didn’t hear about some of those conservatives in Texas re-writing textbooks to their own view of history. BTW, I’m a liberal and I haven’t been busy re-writing textbooks. Did you really mean all liberals?

I don’t think this is a liberal or conservative issue. We all need to help our youth understand their history.

I agree.

Is this really necessary? Every time someone posts a statement about something that is done by liberals, you rush to challenge the assertion (which is never made) that all liberals are doing the same action. No, not all liberals are rewriting textbooks, which no one has claimed. However, liberals who are in charge of developing curriculi for public elementary and high school students to learn from ARE re-writing history to suit their own views. Zinn’s version of American history is a crime against education, for example.

Really, it’s a petty form of argumentation, and frankly it’s pointless. Why bother?

Liberals trying to be “politically correct”. Why should a textbook devote 120 lines to Christian beliefs, practices and holy writings, compared to 248 to those of Islam. Another textbook had 82 lines devoted to Christianity and 159 to Islam.

Read more:

God Bless

It is a rather tiresome ploy that gets used over and over.
Must every post really come with a full disclaimer with all possible contingincies explained, or as intelligent and literate human beings, might we not begin to use a little common sense for a change?

Clearly not all liberals are clones of each other, but we all are individuals with varying degrees of liberal and conservative tendencies. That does not mean that there is not a leftist point of view, and a conservative one.

Leftists and their ideas have become increasingly prominent in all levels of education over the past 4 decades. That is not an opinion, but a generalization based in statistical fact. The result is more and more that children are not receiving information from the variety of sources and points of view so necessary to develop critical thinking skills. Rewriting the texts in this way is rightly described as propaganda.

My opinoin is that the silver lining in the cloud is that the leftist message to kids to be against all authority often means that kids are thumbing their noses to these texts anyway .:wink:
It was a great leftist message when the ‘man’ is the white male imperialistic, capitalistic pig.
But now that the leftist educator has become the nan with his own message to indoctrinate into impressionable young minds, that message can be a real fly in the ointment.

No news here. Its been like this since the founding of the Department of Education at the start of this country.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen a “College Prep” high school history textbook. They’re written for people at the reading level of a 6th grader.

I think the solution is to have all history classes at the high school level use the Advanced Placement book, which should be a college textbook.

I never knew how bad this was until I listened to a conversation between two of our college interns (both highly intelligent kids). They were trying to discuss the Tom Hanks movie *Apollo 13 *and their ability to link fiction with fact would have been laughable if it wasn’t so sad. They had no clue the Space Race ever happened and no idea how our moon landings took place or what the Lunar Module was used for (they thought the command module landed on the moon and then took off again).

It would drive me nuts to watch *Forest Gump *with those guys.

Using an unmodified noun implies generalization, that was my beef. I see it too often, and I’d expect writers to be more precise. I don’t ever say “Conservatives are anti-union,” I say, “Some conservatives are anit-union,” or “some liberals are pro-abortion.”

Tell you what. Write it off to my being an attorney. I read everything carefully and literally. If that’s not good enough for you, my apologies. :shrug:

How many to Judaism and to Buddhism? And, how many to Catholicism as opposed to Protestantism and Evangelicalism? Is there supposed to be some competition as to how many pages each religion is supposed to get?

I’'d give them each one paragraph and no more.

My kids do. But then again, they are homsechooled so…

Best way for kids to get a good education since Catholic schools are so few and far between these days.

So…yes, I’d expect that from homeschoolers.

Mine has some homeschool, then went to parochial and public school, but had the advantage of well educated parents to fill in the gaps… But, what yours and mine had, a lot can’t have.

The Department of Education became a cabinet position under Jimmy Carter and things have been going down hill ever since.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit