It’s also deeply troubling to see how the Center omits key references to our religious heritage. “Separation of church and state is vital to our liberty,” writes David Waters on The Washington Post/Newsweek blog On Faith. “But trying to scrub from American history or public life every reference to God or faith isn't just silly. It's inaccurate and misleading.”
If there’s one positive finding in ISI’s report, it’s that most Americans agree we need more civics lessons. Almost three-quarters of those who took ISI’s test said that colleges should prepare students by teaching them about American history.
This isn’t happening, though. The average score on ISI’s test for those holding bachelor’s degrees was only 57 percent. Even those with advanced degrees scored just 65 percent. Both are failing grades. That could change if universities and even high schools rededicated themselves to teaching what students need to know.
Civic literacy, in fact, is something we all need. After all, millions of inaugural viewers are about to get a valuable glimpse into our system of government. They should understand what they’re seeing.
Glimpses, however, aren’t enough. We can -- and must -- do better.