What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

In case anybody's feeling smug...

...about my earlier post on the failure of state schools in the U.K., here's
a necessary corrective:

"To determine students’ level of basic civic knowledge, we surveyed Arizona high school students with questions drawn from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) item bank, which consists of 100 questions given to candidates for United States citizenship. The longstanding practice has been for candidates to take a test on 10 of these items. A minimum of six correct answers is required to pass. The service recently reported a first-try passing rate of 92.4 percent.

"The Goldwater Institute survey, conducted by a private survey firm, gave each student 10 items from the USCIS item bank...Questions included (1) Who was the first president of the United States? (2) Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? and (3) What ocean is located on the East Coast of the United States?

"...Only 3.5 percent of Arizona high school students attending public schools passed the citizenship test..."

From which, I suppose, we may conclude that, when it comes to "basic civic knowledge," the average American high school student today is well over an order of magnitude less worthy of American citizenship than the average legal immigrant.

And from which, I suppose, we may also conclude that the whole establishment in charge of the public "education" of American children richly deserves to be cast into that dark place "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

But, hey - at least the kiddies know what the'yre told about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Oprah Winfrey & Marilyn Monroe.

So I guess that's all right, then.

Hat tip to Jay Nordlinger.

Comments (8)

Its quite funny but the West Wing taught me enough about America to pass your citizernship test :) ALL American students should be FORCED to watch the West Wing (even as a conservative I can admire him).

Can admire Bartlet

I'd like to see how this ignorance compares to their knowledge of local, county and state govt. I sure don't remember who my county commissioner, city councilman, sheriff or police chief are, but I do know who the mayor, my state Sen. and Rep, and the governor are.

So the educational system emphasizes multicultural education and social history at the expense of political history and civics and lo and behold students hold up social agitators as their heroes and cannot pass a citizenship test. Why is that a surprise? And when are the historians going to get around to debunking the contemporary heroes just as they have with the older heroes?

This is reason number five hundred ninety-seven why, for those for whom it is any sort of option, private- or home-schooling is not so much an alternative to inferior schooling, as an alternative to mild child abuse.

Flight from government schools: Because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Perseus: good question. As a political scientist/philosopher (if I recall correctly) I trust that you'll play what role you can in said debunking.

R.C.: Amen to that - especially when it comes to home-schooling. Unfortunately, I think that most private schools in the U.S. suffer from a lot of the same intellectual/ideological rot as the public schools. The main reason they do a bit better is because they aren't chock-full of kids who are only there because they're legally required to be there.

Steve, that raises a good question: What's up with the private schools in the U.S.? For example, are Christian private schools better educationally than secular private schools? I might expect that the former, while having their own bothersome idiosyncracies, would be less bound to politically correct craziness that is now educationally devastating. One reason I say this is that I use for some of my home schooling a fundamentalist curriculum (A Beka) that is actually written for private Christian schools. It has its oddities--in the history, it's as dull as history texts tend to be and has a strong anti-Catholic bias and a tendency to oversimplification in areas where fundies have interests. But the elementary math curriculum is traditional and grounds kids well in normal stuff like times tables, etc. The history isn't, at least, packed full of PC nonsense and therefore has room for basic facts. (They're still at the level of 1980's "token black Americans in a break-out box every few pages," which could be a lot worse.) The reading--which I've never used but have looked at--uses phonics, so the kids actually learn to read. The spelling teaches spelling rules and requires the kids to memorize. The language arts teaches real grammar. And so forth. If that's what's being followed in many Christian schools, I would think that as the public and "trendy" private schools drop farther and farther back on basics like reading, writing, math facts, typing, spelling, etc., the old-fashioned, if limited, approach of the fundamentalist Christian schools might look brighter all the time by comparison.

Lydia: yes, that *is* a good question.

I think there's a wide variety of private schools in the U.S.

There are the high prestige schools (Choate, Phillips Exeter, Sidwell Friends, &c), which are of course driven by all the latest educational fads, but still manage to produce half-way decent results simply because they're so selective about the students they admit.

And then there are the parochial schools, some of which are still manned (womanned?) by venerable battle-axes who actually know what they're doing and don't care a fig for the going theories. (Most of the freshmen I taught at the University of Chicago who came in already knowing how to write came from schools like this).

And then again there are the protestant Christian schools, about which I know next to nothing. But if they can, indeed, ignore &/or resist the "trendy" trends, then they may, indeed, "look brighter all the time by comparison."

That said, I think that home-schooling is the way to go, for anybody who can manage it.

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