Magazine article Insight on the News

America Disappearing Down Memory Hole of PC Educators. (Fair Comment)

Magazine article Insight on the News

America Disappearing Down Memory Hole of PC Educators. (Fair Comment)

Article excerpt

"Our ability to defend, intelligently and thoughtfully, what we as a nation hold clear depends on our knowledge and understanding of what we hold dear," says historian Diane Ravitch. A reasonable proposition. But unfortunately young Americans are oblivious to their heritage. Ignorance of our past has been carefully cultivated by the educational establishment and the result is a cut-flower generation, severed from its roots.

The recently released survey of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)--often referred to as the nation's report card--shows nearly 60 percent of high-school seniors lack even a basic knowledge of U.S. history. Only 41 percent of 12th-graders know the Monroe Doctrine was intended to keep Europe out of the Americas. A bare 29 percent connect the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution with the Vietnam War. And the NAEP results are only the latest indication that America's schools aren't teaching America's history.

In a 1999 survey of seniors at 55 of the best U.S. colleges and universities, only 23 percent correctly identified James Madison as the principal framer of the Constitution. Almost 80 percent earned grades of "D" or "F" on a high-school level American-history test.

On July 4, 1999, an enterprising reporter for the San Francisco Examiner asked teens at local malls about their understanding of the significance of Independence Day. One maintained the holiday was related to Pearl Harbor. A 17-year-old thoughtfully explained: "They put some flag up. It's like the freedom. Some war was fought and we won, so we got our freedom." Somewhere in the great hereafter, the soldiers of the Continental Army who froze to death in the snows of Valley Forge and the GIs who died in the steaming jungles of Bataan must be weeping.

This epidemic of ignorance is due in part to a crowding-out effect. Schools are so busy telling everyone else's story that there's no time for our own. At its 2001 convention, the National Education Association passed resolutions supporting multicultural education and global education. Absent was any suggestion that students should receive an American education.

When they absolutely must teach something about the United States, educrats prefer niche history--the experiences of African-, Asian- and Hispanic-Americans. …

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