American History Will Disappear From Students' Minds By 2060

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Historical revisionist Sarah Palin is not alone in her inability to answer basic questions about our nation's past: American students don't know squat, either! 82% of high school seniors failed to demonstrate "proficiency" on a national history exam, a 1% uptick in number of students who couldn't pass the previous test in 2006. Keep at it, America! At this rate, by 2060, graduating high school students will no longer even know the past exists. (We think. America failed to teach us math, too.)


Fourth- and eighth-graders scored somewhat better than their older counterparts with 20% and 17% proficiency, respectively. This suggests that our education system may not be good at teaching children history, but it scores high marks for at least helping kids to forget. Forgetting is your new NEVER FORGETTING. Oh well, collective national amnesia, what harm has that ever done?

From the NYT:

Diane Ravitch, an education historian who was invited by the national assessment’s governing board to review the results, said she was particularly disturbed by the fact that only 2 percent of 12th graders correctly answered a question concerning Brown v. Board of Education, which she called “very likely the most important decision” of the United States Supreme Court in the past seven decades.

Students were given an excerpt including the passage, “We conclude that in the field of public education, separate but equal has no place, separate educational facilities are inherently unequal,” and were asked what social problem the 1954 ruling was supposed to correct.

“The answer was right in front of them,” Ms. Ravitch said. “This is alarming.”

Brown v. Board of Education? That's the one where the judges were ringing bells and yelling at the Muslins, right? [NYTimes]

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