BMEWS
 
When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

calendar   Monday - November 24, 2008

They must not read BMEWS

Rachel Lucas writes today about the results of a civic literacy exam given to 14,000 college kids. And they failed. Miserably. As they always do, year after year. Pathetic. No wonder they all voted Socialist. And these are our best and brightest.

The even scarier part is that our elected officials score far worse than the college kids.

Americans Fail a Basic Test on Their History and Institutions is the third major study conducted by ISI on the kind of knowledge required for informed citizenship. In 2006 and 2007, ISI published the first ever scientific surveys of civic learning among college students. Each year, approximately 14,000 freshmen and seniors at 50 schools nationwide were given a 60-question, multiple-choice exam on basic knowledge of America’s heritage. Both years, the students failed. The average freshman scored 51.7% the first year and 51.4% the next. The average senior scored 53.2%, then 54.2%. After all the time, effort, and money spent on college, students emerge no better off in understanding the fundamental features of American self-government.

When the test is given to people at large, they do even worse.

Seventy-one percent of Americans fail the test, with an overall average score of 49%.

* Liberals score 49%; conservatives score 48%. Republicans score 52%; Democrats score 45%.
* Fewer than half of all Americans can name all three branches of government, a minimal requirement for understanding America’s constitutional system.

Bah, I did it in 3 minutes and I only got a 94. I am embarrassed. I missed the Lincoln-Douglas debate question because in my head I confused that with Charles Sumner’s speech. And “54 40 or fight” kept popping up in my brain for no reason at all. And then I missed question 30 because I forgot to think like government, and instead answered with what I would do in a similar situation. Silly me.

Here, go take the test yourself. One click per question, no changing your mind, no going back and double checking. You either know the answer or you take a guess. It won’t take you 5 minutes. Although some of the questions are difficult, and you have to read them carefully, I have very high expectations of all of you. Then go read the Summary and the Introduction and the rest of it if you want.

When Jefferson, Madison, and other leading Virginians signed the plan for the University of Virginia, they knew it needed to be compelling to the legislature that commissioned it. For the university to have a claim to state funding, it needed a public purpose. The principle still applies. Given that most citizens never attend college, what do they get from subsidizing it?

One benefit envisioned by Jefferson and Madison was that the university would preserve the nation’s memory and increase its general store of knowledge.

“And it cannot be but that each generation succeeding to the knowledge acquired by all those who preceded it, adding to it their own acquisitions and discoveries, and handing the mass down for successive and constant accumulation, must advance the knowledge and well-being of mankind,”


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/24/2008 at 05:05 PM   
Filed Under: • Education •  
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