What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 22, 2011

Is Our Children Learning History?

Rick Santorum certainly isn't.

From thinkprogress:
According to a national test released last week, “just 13 percent of high schools seniors” demonstrated proficiency in U.S. history. Speaking to the Story County GOP Central Committee in Ames, Iowa, presidential candidate Rick Santorum attributed the poor scores to a leftist plot to keep students in the dark about U.S. history so they don’t learn American values
And they quote Lil Ricky:
We don’t even know our own history. There was a report that just came out last week that the worst subject of children in American schools is — not math and science — its history. It’s the worst subject. How can we be a free people. How can we be a people that fight for America if we don’t know who America is or what we’re all about. This is, in my opinion, a conscious effort on the part of the left who has a huge influence on our curriculum, to desensitize America to what American values are so they are more pliable to the new values that they would like to impose on America. [Bolding in original.]
For Rick, everything's a lib'rul plot to take over Murika. Simply everything.

Here's the NAEP's summary of the assessment if you wanted to take a look. And how do they see things? A few bullet points:
  • At all grades, the average U.S. history scores in 2010 were higher than the scores in 1994, and the score for eighth-graders was also higher than in 2006.
  • Twenty percent of fourth-graders, 17 percent of eighth-graders, and 12 percent of twelfth-graders performed at or above the Proficient level on the 2010 U.S. history assessment.
  • At grades 4 and 8, the percentages of students at or above Proficient in 2010 were higher than the percentages in the first assessment in 1994, but over the same time period the percentage of twelfth-graders at or above Proficient was not significantly different.
While it's not a good picture, at least it's an improving picture - except for 12 graders.

Anyone have any idea on why? From the AP:
"The history scores released today show that student performance is still too low," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. "These results tell us that, as a country, we are failing to provide children with a high-quality, well-rounded education."

Education experts say a heavy focus on reading and math under the federal No Child Left Behind law in the last decade has led to lagging performance in other subjects such as history and science.

"We need to make sure other subjects like history, science and the arts are not forgotten in our pursuit of the basic skills," said Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University and former U.S. assistant education secretary. [Emphasis added.]
Assistant Education Secretary under George H. W. Bush, by the way.

Then there's this, also from thinkprogress:
The Texas Board of Education has been meeting this week to revise its social studies curriculum. During the past three days, “the board’s far-right faction wielded their power to shape lessons on the civil rights movement, the U.S. free enterprise system and hundreds of other topics”
Yes, the lib'rul Texas Board of Education did this:
  • The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”
  • The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”
And then there's more on Rick's own understanding of US History.

Yes, our nation's collective ignorance is all a lib'rul plot.


EdHeath said...

You know, I simply can not remember how many representatives there are in the House. I have to google "Nate Silver" in order to find out.

We are maybe on the/a verge, of video taping successful teachers and making those tapes available for teacher training. Seeing how students react to enthusiasm and passion might be enough to help young teachers mime someone else's style until they find their own voice. So far the only teacher training materials on video I am aware consists of Ray Walston, Nick Nolte (and the great Richard Mulligan) and Ben Stein.

The Smooot-Hawley Tariff Act raised ... lowered ... raised ... lowered ... anyone ... anyone ... ???

Piltdown Man said...

Rick should be worried about kids knowing too much history, then they'd be able to understand that ideological theocrats have, by and large, not been very good for our nation -- or any nation.

I know it goes without saying, but what a loutish bore this man is. Of course, he feels confident slashing teachers because he and Karen home-schooled their "quiver full" -- and most teachers are in unions, so they must be evil. (and unlikely to vote for Ricky)

Finally, WTF is "proficient," anyway? According to what standard? Did I miss something?

How to fix the schools? Wrest back control of the brats from mommy/daddy. Extend the school year. Turn off the phones and iPads. Force the little shits to memorize something. Kick their little asses.

Next question?