Remarkably, a college degree does not increase civic knowledge. According to the report, "The average score among those who ended their formal education with a bachelor's degree is 57 percent, or an 'F'. That is only 13 percentage points higher than the average score among those who ended their formal education with a high school diploma. Only 24 percent know that the First Amendment prohibits establishing an official religion for the United States." That's pretty basic information, isn't it? One might expect the Bill of Rights to be part of any class on government, even as early as elementary school.
Other findings: "Elected officials score lower than the general public," which tells us all we need to know about Washington. "Television -- including TV news -- Dumbs America Down," says ISI. In the midst of important hearings in Washington on the economy and a possible bailout for the big three automakers, one cable channel carried a story about a 44-year-old stripper who is suing for age discrimination.
ISI calls on everyone involved in education, including parents, to re-evaluate curricula and standards of accountability and to emphasize to students the fundamentals about our country. It notes Thomas Jefferson's admonition: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free ... it expects what never was and never will be."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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