US History and Public Knowledge: Bad, Getting Worse

Glenn Ricketts

As I wrote recently here, knowledge of American history is increasingly unfamiliar to Americans at all levels of the educational process, from K-12 to graduates of top-tier colleges and universities. The things that we don't know about our own past are simply jaw-dropping. Why aren't these core elements known to the public? Apparently, because they aren't taught. They aren't taught, I assume, because educators don't think they're worth knowing. As I noted, my parents and grandparents, most of them not college graduates, had a decent grip on the basics of the history and political institutions of the country in which they lived. But as we get younger, our historical acquaintance with those seminal aspects of the national experience seems to shrink drastically. Have a look at the results of this Marist poll, then take two aspirin.

Special thanks to our regular columnist Jason Fertig for providing the link.

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