Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Saddening News Story

Im going to post a full news story here. Usually I just link to it but I think this news story is especially disheartening. Following the story i will comment on its importance.

Teens losing touch with common cultural and historical references

By Greg Toppo

Big Brother. McCarthyism. The patience of Job.

Don't count on your typical teenager to nod knowingly the next time you drop a reference to any of these. A study out today finds that about half of 17-year-olds can't identify the books or historical events associated with them.

Twenty-five years after the federal report A Nation at Risk challenged U.S. public schools to raise the quality of education, the study finds high schoolers still lack important historical and cultural underpinnings of "a complete education." And, its authors fear, the nation's current focus on improving basic reading and math skills in elementary school might only make matters worse, giving short shrift to the humanities � even if children can read and do math.

"If you think it matters whether or not kids have common historical touchstones and whether, at some level, we feel like members of a common culture, then familiarity with this knowledge matters a lot," says American Enterprise Institute researcher Rick Hess, who wrote the study.

Among 1,200 students surveyed:

•43% knew the Civil War was fought between 1850 and 1900.

•52% could identify the theme of 1984.

•51% knew that the controversy surrounding Sen. Joseph McCarthy focused on communism.

In all, students earned a C in history and an F in literature, though the survey suggests students do well on topics schools cover. For instance, 88% knew the bombing of Pearl Harbor led the USA into World War II, and 97% could identify Martin Luther King Jr. as author of the "I Have a Dream" speech.

Fewer (77%) knew Uncle Tom's Cabin helped end slavery a century earlier.

"School has emphasized Martin Luther King, and everybody teaches it, and people are learning it," says Chester Finn of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank. "What a better thing it would be if people also had the Civil War part and the civil rights part, and the Harriet Tubman part and the Uncle Tom's Cabin part."

The findings probably won't sit well with educators, who say record numbers of students are taking college-level Advanced Placement history, literature and other courses in high school.

Today we are finding more and more American's who are ignorant about the world around them and of the history of it. This ignorance will become even worse as "wolves in sheeps clothing" begin teaching their versions of history. To bring to an example we will look at the Middle Ages and Crusades. If you ask the majority of people now to tell you anything about this period in time, you will find the most common answer to be that it was a very dark period for europe and especially Christianity. Most Christians will trip over themselves apologizing for this period of our history, yet these same people can not tell you any details around it. Revisionists and liberal historians have already succeeded in painting this period as evil and in general painting christianity into a corner. Our ignorance does not end there. Now revisionists are repainting the American revolution and founding to be something completely different. Many of the great christians who helped found America are being written out of the history books.
Whoever said that ignorance is bliss was wrong. Ignorance especially in historical matters is atrocious. Those who do not learn from it are doomed to repeat it. And everyday I see ignorant Americans who give away their freedoms. I see people who vote for elected officials based on what they look like or what sex they are.
I hope this blog will be a place to learn about history and current events from around the world. Education leads to freedom.

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