I’m on my soapbox today, so if you don’t want to hear me rant, it’s time to move on.
For more than a decade, we have been inundated with the philosophy of globalization by the intellectual and educational elite. Being good citizens of the world is replacing being a good citizen of a particular nation. We are
berated encouraged to place the humanity of the world above everything else and focus on lofty, universal ideals of human rights and justice…not that there is anything wrong with wanting basic human rights for everyone. However, patriotism, or devotion to one’s own country, is increasingly downplayed because we are now taught that no nation should think of themselves any better than another. This mindset seems to be prevalent in our education system as well as our political circles. Social studies and history courses are increasingly teaching global civics instead of local civics.
As a result, we are raising a generation of illiterates when it comes to knowing anything about our own country. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only one in four high school seniors is “proficient” in knowledge of U.S. citizenship. Civics and history proudly took the bottom of the barrel as American students’ worst subjects.
Quoting from American Amnesia by William Damon:
An American Enterprise Institute study earlier this year found that most social studies teachers doubted that their students grasped core U.S. citizenship concepts such as the Bill of Rights or the separation of powers. A recent Department of Education study found that only nine percent of U.S. high school students are able to cite reasons why it is important for citizens to participate in a democracy, and only six percent are able to identify reasons why having a constitution benefits a country.
For 10 years, Mr. Damon’s research team at Stanford conducted interviews with a diverse number of American youth about what U.S. citizenship means to them. Here are some of their responses.
We just had (American citizenship) the other day in history. I forget what it was.
…being American is not really special. I don’t find being an American citizen very important.
I don’t want to belong to any country. It just feels like you are obligated to this country. I don’t like the whole thing of citizen…I don’t like that whole thing. It’s like, citizen, no citizen; it doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like to be a good citizen—I don’t know, I don’t want to be a citizen…it’s stupid to me.
Are you paying attention? These are the future leaders of America.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment of Education, only 23% of college seniors from our nation’s elite universities knew that the phrase, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people,” was from President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
The U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment of Education reports 83% of high school seniors could not list the freedoms in the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and to petition the government). Three quarters of them did not know property rights are protected under the Fifth Amendment. And two thirds of these seniors didn’t know the purpose of the Bill of Rights.
The same report shows that half of our nation’s fourth graders do not know the role of the President in making our country’s laws; and only one quarter of them knew the names of the three branches of the government.
Here’s a shocker…the National Constitution Center reports that more than 20% of respondents didn’t know we declared our independence from England.
And, related to that question, the U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment of Education reports only 32% of 4th and 8th grade students could name ONE of the 13 colonies that fought in the American Revolution.
Seriously? Is anyone else outraged by this? Or are we all just content to be citizens of the world and don’t care anymore? Last time I checked, the world didn’t have a president, military or government supported with taxes. We don’t abide by world laws and aren’t summoned to a world court as part of a jury of peers. If I’m unhappy with something as a citizen of the world, who should I write to to voice my opinion? Although the United Nations would like to fill that role, we do not have a one-world government…yet.
We are so conscious to celebrate cultural diversity in our schools. Our kids are encouraged to share their cultural and ethnic experiences and backgrounds. And I’m not questioning the benefit of learning about other cultures. But I do question it when it seems to be at the expense of the country they live in today. When our students know more about the Chinese New Year than they know about the Constitution and American Revolution, something is very, very wrong.
Teach students the value of being a United States citizen. Inspire them to want to learn about the heritage and reasons behind the ideas of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Show them how to become good citizens and love their own country…and they will become good citizens of the world.
Or we will soon be the land of the free and home of the unprepared. And then, soon, we may not even be free.