A new survey of high school students points to troubling trends in our nation’s schools according to “Still at Risk: What Students Don’t Know, Even Now” released by the American Enterprise Institute. Among the discouraging statistics on history from the 1,200 students surveyed: *just 43% correctly knew the Civil War was fought between 1850 and 1900; *about half knew that communism was the focus of Joseph McCarthy’s investigations in the 1950s; *abotu half knew that Orwell classic 1984 was about dictatorship and collectivism. Yet, *97% knew Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote the “I Have a Dream Speech” *88% knew Pearl Harbor prompted the US’s entry into WWII Perhaps most troubling is the following comment in the USA Today story reporting on the study:
In all, students earned a C in history and an F in literature, though the survey suggests students do well on topics schools cover.
Checker Finn, Jr. of the Fordham Foundation had the best summary when he told USA Today:
“School has emphasized Martin Luther King, and everybody teaches it, and people are learning it,” says Chester Finn of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank. “What a better thing it would be if people also had the Civil War part and the civil rights part, and the Harriet Tubman part and the Uncle Tom’s Cabin part.”
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