American kids: history dunces

Who knows more about American history: immigrants taking the U.S. citizenship test or products of our schools?

I wouldn't be asking if the answer weren't so appalling:

In the most recent round of the National Assessment of Educational
Progress, only one fourth of American schoolchildren tested as
proficient in their knowledge of U.S. history. A study in Arizona found
that only 3.5 percent of high school students could pass the test of
civic knowledge given to immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens.


A Lexington Institute commentary identified a "key problem" as:

...the process of teacher certification, which is
controlled by state departments of education in cooperation with
colleges of education. A basic problem is that history is often tucked
under the umbrella of social studies - a mishmash of everything from
global studies to sociology, in which critical figures and lessons from
American history are often overlooked. Indeed, in some cases, it is
possible to gain certification as a social studies teacher without
having studied any history. Researcher Sarah Drake Brown has observed
that states "often bury their low requirements {for history} amidst
claims of high standards."

Don't believe there's a problem? Check these out:


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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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