Every midde school student should take the mini-citizenship-test embedded near the top of this article.
Very basic, common sense points are raised in the article that follows. However, it doesn’t connect the effects of modern ed-reform on the students’ ability to answer simple, low-level, US history questions.
It is clear that the push (yes I call it a “push” because I believe it is deliberate) is toward a more civics illeterate population, since students are only held accountable for reading, writing, and math (speaking for NYC) and not for Social Studies/HIstory. Secondly, the other push, which I actually support but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it does have a negative impact on civics ed., is on teaching skills instead of knowledge, the idea that “knowledge will come later” or “they can live without knowledge but not without skills” and “if we give them the skills, then they can get the knowledge on their own” etc. I wish I find someone out there (I’m confident there are better teachers than me out there) who is able to strike a perfect balance of teaching knowledge and skills; whose students leave middle school with the general knowledge they need to be on equal footing with their peers from wealtheir school districts and the skills that they can use to increase that knowlege base. It is true that the teachers should be teaching a lot more than simple facts that a google search can produce in seconds should anyone ever needs them, but at the same time if you’re the person who has to google what the stripes on your flag mean you are and will be left behind. In order for our studets to compete with the world’s, they need to be able to retrieve basic information FASTER than google even though its “always at your fingertips.”