Here’s what I think is one of the most embarrassing things about the U.S. educational system at all levels, and a true educational crisis — the ridiculously low level of knowledge that Americans in general have about civics. This includes a working knowledge of American history, the government, international relations, and economics. This is all information that citizens need to make informed choices about who to vote for and what stand to take on elections.
Thus, as reported by USA Today, it’s no surprise that on a recent Civic Literacy test, Americans scored failing grades. The average score on this test was 49 percent. Perhaps even more depressing was this statistic: college educators scored only 55 percent!
Why do we know so little about such important things? I think in part, our schools have not made it enough of a priority to make sure we’re informed. I took two high school American history classes — regular and AP — and both classes stopped at World War II because they ran out of time. I took it upon myself to take American History 1945 to Present in college, as I wanted to know what happened next! But if I hadn’t, I would know little about what happened in this country between about 1945 through around 1976, which is about the time I became aware of politics.
That’s a problem. How can we make important decisions as a nation if we don’t know our recent history?
So how much do you know about civics? Take the test! I scored 91 percent, or 30 out of 33 (but I had some help from my husband).