Schools get low marks in history and civics

by Lewis Loflin

What should be noted is what this article doesn't say, the role of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism dominates academics in America at the college and ultimately the public schools. It celebrates every culture as worthy no matter how unworthy it really is. At the same time it attacks traditional values and depicts Western Civilization and in particular America in the worst possible light.

Multiculturalism is racist, depicting whites as evil while promoting all sorts of Leftist political themes. Collectivism, radical feminism, radical environmentalism, radical homosexual agenda, etc. are common themes. Multiculturalism has no place in schools or our society.

See The Nazi Roots of Multiculturalism

September 16, 2003

The nation's public schools offer students plenty about America's failings, but not enough about its values and freedoms. That's the conclusion of a provocative, nationwide report from the Albert Shanker Institute by noted historian and educator Paul Gagnon.

According to the Shanker Institute report, most states - Tennessee and Virginia included - need to overhaul their academic standards if students are to learn and understand the history, politics, geography, and economics indispensable to committed, thoughtful citizens.

The study, "Education for Democracy," is the latest effort to try to strengthen the nation's weak grasp of civics and history. The hope is that the report will lead to improvements in curriculum or at least spark a debate about today's social studies classes as we reflect on the terrorist attacks of two years ago.

Based on studies of textbooks, research by authors and other reviews, the report contends students get a distorted account that America is irredeemably flawed. Schools should offer a more positive tone, the report's authors advise, while avoiding propaganda or patriotic drills. There are a growing number of indicators pointing to a troubling lack of student understanding of politics and history.

The 2001 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) found, for example, that a mere 17 percent of eighth-graders scored at proficient or advanced levels in United States history. Not even half of students tested knew that the Supreme Court could decide a law's constitutionality.

Among graduating seniors, only 11 percent scored at proficient or advanced levels. Only a third of high school seniors knew what the Progressive Era was and many were unsure whom we fought in World War II. Recently, 81 percent of college seniors at 55 leading colleges and universities scored an F or D when quizzed on American history.

The Shanker Institute report recommends that states give veteran teachers and scholars a larger role in advising states what should be studied. Narrowing standards to an essential core would help their colleagues select and teach the most important topics within the available instructional time for the subject, the report concludes.

Ultimately, our ability to intelligently defend and preserve what we as a nation hold dear depends on our knowledge and understanding of the ideas and values that bind us together in a common civic culture.

It is only through an intimate acquaintance with that shared history that we can hope to understand our past and contemplate our collective future.

Copyright 2003 Kingsport Times-News.