Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

The Civics test: How do you compare?

Common sense, Constitution, Education, Elections, Government / Bureaucracy, Truth

How many times do you hear that our children are so much smarter these days or that our high school and college age students are so advanced compared to our school days?

I hear it a lot, but frankly, I don't see it. Yes, they know how to use technology, but it seems most young to middle age adults are pretty ignorant when it comes to civics, economics, and history.

If you watched any of the interviews on why voters chose their candidates on Nov. 4th, you will notice how woefully ignorant the masses are when it comes to civics and politics. RedState posted some of these interviews. Most didn't even know who Barney Frank, Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi were!

The Red State interviews confirmed what USA Today concluded in Americans don't know civics: (My emphasis throughout)

From high-school dropouts to college graduates to elected officials, Americans are "alarmingly uninformed"USA's history, founding principals and economy about the — knowledge needed to participate wisely in civic life, says a report scheduled to be released Thursday.

..."Without knowledge of your country's history, key texts and institutions, you don't have a frame of reference to judge the politics and policies of today," says Richard Brake, head of the institute's American Civic Literacy Program.

You can take the same Our Fading Heritage Civics Quiz, and see how you compare to other average Americans. (I took it too--my score is at the bottom of this posting.) 

There was some correlation between age and higher education, but even there, the scores were still abysmal: (My emphasis)

[Across all economic and education levels] 71% earn an F; the average score was 49%. Ages 25 to 34 had an average score of 46%; ages 45 to 64 had a 52% average. Of 164 respondents who say they have held elected office, 44% was average.

Those with bachelor's degrees had an average score of 57% vs. 44% for those with a high-school diploma. The average score for advanced degree-holders inches up to 65%, or a D.

This correlation came as no surprise to me: 

Civic knowledge declines in proportion to time spent using passive media, such as TV. Reading and talking about history and current events, using the Internet and being involved in political activities has a positive effect.

I took it and scored 93.94% or 31 out of 33 correct. Most questions I knew without the multiple choice, a few I only answered correctly because of homeschooling (recently taught high school civics), some were educated guesses.

Neither of my parents went to college, although my mother went to a one year secretarial school. My father had to quit school in the 8th grade to go to work during the great depression. Yet they and others from their generation possessed a core knowledge of these necessary subjects that most younger American adults lack. They studied our nation's "key texts" in school.

Sadly, most people today do not know anything about our government or economy. If we ever want elections to be about substance instead of persona and emotion, we will have to teach the basic civics, history and economics classes again. Of course that is only if we want to ensure we have an electorate that votes intelligently.



Are you brave enough to take the basic history quiz too? Questions and how students scored in '07

Please, comment content should relate to the subject of the post. Although I try to respond to many, do not interpret my lack of a response as agreement.



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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, Vicki Mckenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Mark Levin, CNS News

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