Sunday, July 28, 2019

Civics education in America

Here is a great article with many tables of data on the state of civics education in America.

The states that require no civics education are Alaska, Delaware, Kentuck, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

There are many more that do not require any civics exam to graduate from high school.

The states that have the highest mean scores on the AP American History Exam in order are Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

The states with the lowest mean scores on the AP American History exam starting with the lowest are Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, Alabama, and Floida. 

My hypothesis that civics education requirements would be greater in red states than blue states was not born out completely. However, it is born out when comparing mean test scores on AP history exams, The five lowest mean scores are all in red states while the states with the highest mean scores are all blue states.

The lack of civics education as a requirement for high school graduation should be a major concern of all Americans. Without a knowledgeable electorate democracy is seriiously compromised and in serious trouble.

The fact that only 25% of American adults can name all three branches of their government is a serious symptom of sickness in our body politic.

Back to the point - naturalized citizens must past a basic civics exam to become citizens of the United States, Other citizens get a waiver. What is the impact of ignorant people voting in our elections? Donald Trump, a reality TV celebrity, and con man.

Lewis is absolutely right in his book, the Fifth Rish. The greatest risk facing America is not nuclear war, or climate change, or financial melt down, or break down of the electrical grid, it's the ignorance and stupidity of its own citizens.

As the old Pogo cartoon said, "I have seen the enemy and it is us."

God help us all.

1 comment:

  1. You're very right to call attention to the importance of civic education and lament the decline of basic knowledge.

    But I want to make one small correction. The title of Michael Lewis' book, The Fifth Risk, came from his interview with the outgoing chief risk officer for the U.S. Department of Energy.

    He told Lewis that the top five risks that the DoE had to deal with were (1) "broken arrows" i.e. lost atomic weapons, (2) North Korea, (3) Iran, (4) the failure of the U.S. electrical grid and (5) "project management" - short-term thinking about long-range problems.

    I mention this because it gives me a chance to call attention to his writing.

    Phil Ebersole