By Julie Levy ~ Posted Tue, 03/04/2008 - 12:47pm
Have you ever read something that just stuns the living daylights out of you? This morning, during my normal news perusal, I ran across an article titled What High Schoolers Don't Know by Bonnie Goldstein. After reading the article, I was just completely flabbergasted. I would even go as far to say that I was at a loss for words- which for me, is a major accomplishment. If there is nothing else you read today, I urge you to read the study on which this blog and referenced articles are based.
The article, which calls America's students "stunningly ignorant" cites a study by education advocacy group Common Core that details what American students do not know about literature and historical events. The data was gathered from a 33 question multiple choice test given to 1,200 17-year-old high-school students. The good news is, 97% of students assessed knew that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the "I Have a Dream" speech. That fact aside, there is no good news to be had from this report.
Overall, the students surveyed earned a “D" on the test. Did I mention that the test was multiple choice? Fewer than half of the students could identify in which half century the Civil War was fought. Half had no idea what the Renaissance was. I could site question after question and statistic after statistic, but I think that you starting to see the abysmal picture.
The title of this newly published report, Still At Risk, is an allusion to the 1983 report, A Nation At Risk in which the statement "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war," was made. 25 years later, these words could not be more true.
So, what to do with this information? I could devote page after page to what I think as a teacher, U.S. citizen, supporter of liberal arts education or children's advocate but my commentary cannot replace your experiencing the information for yourself. So, read the study and various commentaries, then take the test for yourself (see the pdf below). Have your high school aged children take the test. Think about, could your child's teachers pass the test?
Once you have digested all of this information, I want to hear from you: What are your thoughts on and reactions to the Still At Risk report? What should our country's educational leaders do to remedy the gaping hole in children's educations? What can you do to expand your child's education?