June 23, 2011
Dont Know Much About History is the title of yesterdays Washington Times article by Suzanne Fields that borrows from a line in a famous song by the singer Sam Cooke (Wonderful World). It captures the essence of the poor test results that were released this week in the Nations Report Card: U.S. History 2010 as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
the bottom line was depressingly predictable: Not even a quarter of American students is proficient in US history, and the percentage declines as students grow older. Only 20 percent of 6th graders, 17 percent of 8th graders, and 12 percent of high school seniors demonstrate a solid grasp on their nations history. In fact, American kids are weaker in history than in any of the other subjects tested by the NAEP math, reading, science, writing, civics, geography, and economics.
Furthermore, there really hasnt been much improvement in the history scores in the last twenty years. Maybe history needs to be tested like math and English. It seems that important to me.
I heard a caller to a radio talk show make this interesting point: he said there is a much greater emphasis on the teaching of world history these days much less on pure American history. If so, that is something that needs to be addressed and could prove highly beneficial.
PS - I wonder if students today - back to Sam Cooke - have ever seen a slide rule, let alone have any clue as to what they are for.